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Activities for Kids, Family, Holidays

Santa Cruz Holiday Lights Train

This weekend we boarded the Santa Cruz Holiday Lights Train at the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk (put on by Roaring Camp) and although I want to say it was all that, it really wasn’t. I was quite scarred from the experience actually. Of course I was warned as to how ruthless the crowd can get if you’re not there early enough to get a seat, but I was not prepared for what I saw with my own two eyes. What I had hoped would  be a magical Christmas-y night, like when we did Polar Express last year, was a stressful, uncoordinated night on all parts. Rob and I didn’t communicate the best and he was getting food, while I needed him to get the car seat and stroller back to the car before the train came. I was in line early, only to be left with two kids and a bag full of corn dogs and ketchup oozing all over the place, and a monster crowd of rude Santa Cruz @$$holes, pushing their way and cutting me in line. There wasn’t much for me to do by myself, holding an 8-month old, hot chocolate, and everything Jace didn’t want to carry, while Rob was loading stuff back in the car. All the friendly people around me at the start immediately became oblivious to my baggage (literally) and turned into cutting, push you back, I don’t care people. I even felt bad for the elf conductors taking tickets who were verbally bashed and talked down to.

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Activities for Kids, Family, Holidays, Motherhood, Pregnancy

Back at the Christmas Tree Farm!

Well, we are jumping right into the holiday season around here. Starting with getting our Christmas tree from none other than our favorite Christmas Tree Farm – Crest Ranch! We wore our layers because when the wind blew, the chill would freeze you to your core! But gosh, what a beautiful day to cut down a Christmas tree and drink hot chocolate. Carting around 2 kids this time around was pretty tricky. Also, random site note, why do I even try to wear the Ergo? Walker just can’t be restrained. He’s a beast that can’t be reckoned with and rather sit in the dirt and touch each speck or twig (or chew on Jace’s trash) >D Anyway, we quickly eyed a tree that was full enough to fill up a corner of our house and after some strong sawing (on Rob’s end) we cut threw a wicked knot and had our tree! It’s a smelly one, too. Jace was more involved with his hot chocolate than finding a tree, but managed to help Rob with some of the action at the end. He’d been looking forward to getting a Christmas tree all week, so of course it was all worth it.  Hope you all are getting excited for the holidays and getting your trees decked out. Our living room is very much a-glow right now and so wonderfully fragrant. This time of year is truly the most magical, with so much to celebrate. More Christmas fun to come (if I can ever get around to documenting it!)

This photo here was right before Jace threw Rob’s coffee on the ground, with no regret and with a smile on his face. Funny how toddlers just do those kinds of things, right? oh-well. We’ve learned to just say “whatever” and move on to the next thing. No use crying over spilled coffee. And Mr. Jace wanted to wear Walker’s little hat and swiftly stole it from him. Go figure. Reminds me of when he wore it as a baby way back. Now my 2nd born is wearing all his hand-me-downs, and it’s so sweet. I just love re-purposing the little sweaters and booties and hats. Brings all kinds of great memories back. Plus, Walker is just delicious right now. I mean, come on! Look at that little drooly face and snotty nose! Ha.

And instead of Rob riding the Christmas tree this year, I decided to make him put it over his head. I’m so thankful he’s game for my crazy photo ideas ;) Also, I totally look 7 months preggo in this pic. Not sure what it is this time, but I’m eating even more food than usual while pregnant. Haha. Oh-well. Growing a human an’t easy!

Carmel Valley, Family, Monterey

Yoga at Folktale Winery

While my sister was here visiting in late September I took her to the Folktale Winery in Carmel Valley for yoga and wine tasting. I’ve been following Folktale ever since I moved back to the area, and have been dying to go. And boy did I need a good yoga session! My body has been so out of whack. It was an hour and half of yoga, stretching and meditating, in probably one of the most beautiful settings. The sun warmed our faces, there was a crisp, cool breeze. The birds were chirping, the sky a gorgeous blue with the clouds floating by slowly. And quiet. So quiet! Such a beautiful sound silence is. Our bodies were a little sore after but it was so worth it. We felt very relaxed. As part of the $20 class, you can go into the tasting room after and get a glass of wine. The little patio was absolutely darling, with lots of yard games, including foozeball! Very family friendly, which I wasn’t expecting. The tasting room was enchanting, and the labels just as enchanting. Pam got the Chardonnay, and it was so delicious she had to buy a bottle. All that yoga also made us starving so we ordered a caesar salad and cheese plate. The chef’s station was right on the patio where you could watch his team make all the plates fresh to order. We were drooling over everything that came off that counter! Overall, this place didn’t disappoint. We loved it and now I have a great place to take friends and family when they come. And I definitely need more yoga in my life! It’s so good for the soul (and obviously your body). A nice morning with my sister all to myself. Couldn’t have asked for a better morning with one of my favorite people.

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Activities for Kids, Aptos, Family

Sunset walks on Fridays

Well, it’s been 3 months now since we’ve moved back to California. For some reason it feels like longer than that, but still 3 months, all the same. Although this gorgeous weather has been making it easy to remember the good things about living the coastal life, I think we’ve had a hard time adjusting. I’m working from home now and Rob is home with the kids all day. Temporary I know, but still hard when I have to be “on” at work to get projects done and sit in on conference calls, etc. and the kids are crying or screaming or the TV is blaring. It’s been hard for me to turn Mom off and work on. But, bless Rob’s heart, he’s doing the best he can to keep the kiddos occupied and engaged, and every morning we have our morning meeting upstairs in the office to talk about the day’s schedule so he knows when to get the boys out of the house. At the same time, Jace is very clingy to Rob and desperate for friends again, so we’re anxious for him to start preschool around here to get back into some kind of routine where he can build up his independence again. And Mr. Walker is in that delicious baby stage where he’s more alert and awake and wants to be active with Jace, so even more to think about, on both Rob and I’s part (especially with all the bite-size toys and legos around here!). This work home life is truly a blessing, we just need to get better at it. And I know Rob will eventually go back to work once he finds something that suites him, but for now, we’ll just have to juggle the every day and support each other in getting balance and some alone time, where we can turn the attention back to ourselves and hit the gym, or the mani salon, or just wind down together on a Friday night after the long work week with a sunset walk on the beach. Nothing is more enjoyable than skipping rocks into calm waves, smelling that ocean air and seeing Jace run up and down the beach with the sunset in back view. That little one has so much energy, which is part of the reason we’re so spent by the end of every day! We do thank God for this chance right now to keep the boys home and not in daycare, and need to remember to simply enjoy it before schedules kick in again and late night movie loft nights aren’t an every day thing. For now, I’m going to enjoy the craziness because it lets me have lunch with my family every day and snuggle Walker when he wakes up from his naps. I also think these sunsets walks need to officially become a weekly ritual, to help us reflect on the week and the gift of each day we’re given.

Family, Gilbert

Rose Pops

I came across Garage East on Instagram from a friend and just HAD to take my sister there for her birthday, and for the rose pops! Not sure she loves rose as much as me, but it’s supposed to hit 120 this week so I thought we needed something extra fun to cool us off. Garage East has an aboslutely beautiful patio, fully decked with misters too I might mention. While you sip on their selection of Arizona wines, they give you chips and olives. In case someone in your party doesn’t like wine they can go next door and grab a beer on tap, and even a taco from SoCal and bring it back to the patio. Happy birthday, Pamsy. I’m so lucky to have you for a sister to share life with!