July 2018 Recap

July Header (1 of 1)

Well it has certainly taken me long enough but the July recap is finally here.  I received numerous emails, calls, texts, faxes, you name it, and the constant nagging finally got me to sit down and upload these shots.  Part of the problem is that July had so much going on. We already posted about Jack’s 3rd birthday party, our Cambria trip, and Jack and Elodie’s burgeoning love affair.

July had us in Santa Barbara getting to take advantage of Grandpa lullabies, drinks in the funkzone, night time stories from Mimi, pant-less biscuits and so much more. After that it was pack to the ‘dena to celebrate Brycie’s birthday and lots of pool time at JoJo and Papa’s house.  The biggest take away from summer being over has to be how much fun we all had just popping into the pool nearly daily for even just 30 minutes or a few hours.

We sadly had one last cousin hangout before my cousin Gavin and his girls shipped off to Portland to focus on craft brewing, pour over coffees, and facial hair growth. It’s been sad with them gone but we’re looking forward to the time together over the coming holidays. The girls were especially interested and sweet with little Coop.

Hopefully this post provides some momentum and I’ll get the August recap up soon, but who knows I might pull a George R.R. Martin and take my sweet time on the next installment.

Halloween 2018


No one was more excited than me when I realized that I would be able to commit the cardinal sin of Halloween costumes: I wore my Wonder Woman costume two years in a row. Proudly.

It all started when Jack told me he wanted to be Spider-Man for Halloween. At that time, I had no idea he really knew anything about Spider-Man—apparently, I was wrong! I also remembered that we had a batman onesie for Cooper (although we ended up buying a new one–a size up–the day of Halloween). Around this time, a coworker of mine mentioned he had an adult-sized Robin costume someone could borrow. Minutes later I secured it for Brandon. Of course, Wonder Woman fit perfectly into our superhero theme (yes, we had a superhero theme last year, but everyone else was someone different except for me). And the rest is history.

Halloween day started out with a parade and sing-a-long at Jack’s preschool. My parents, JoJo, and Brandon got to see the whole thing. While I had to work, I was able to see the parade.

That night, my parents (who have been in town for a month!) got to see us all dressed up and help with some pictures. They also got to watch Jack go to a few houses early on as we walked to Hilary and Baker’s house, our neighbors. We met up with their family and the Gillans for some snacks and pictures before we set off for the evening together. We only ended up on one street, but it turned out to be the perfect amount of time and candy. Jack had a lot of fun going door-to-door with Harper, and he also had an adorable little photo shoot with Liv. After trick-or-treating, we parted ways with the other families to go have dinner at Tomato Pie, something we had done Jack’s first year trick-or-treating. We even made it back home by seven.

One other fun thing to mention is that Jack got to dress up and do a small scale of trick-or-treating at his PCC classes on the Tuesday and Thursday before and after Halloween this year. He also loved wearing his Spider-Man costume around the house all of October. As you can see, Jack had been looking forward to Halloween for a while and so it was such a treat (unintentional dad Halloween pun) to experience the actual day with him.

Now, he’s already asking about Santa Claus… time slow down!


Pumpkin Carving

Pumpkin Carving 2018 Header (1 of 1).jpg

Jack, and technically Cooper too, got to experience pumpkin carving for the first time.  Jack’s been eager ever since we bought a carving kit from Big Lots weeks ago when I took him out of pre-school for 2 hours to avoid a nap in hopes of him sleeping at a regular hour, but I digress. We headed up to my parents for the BYOP event and were surprised when there was sushi and cupcakes (eaten separately don’t worry) for a mini double birthday celebration for Sarah and Nick who share a birthday week.  Carving was a ton of fun with Bryce obviously showing off her art skills while the rest of us just tried not to cut a finger off while carving. Jack dictated exactly what he wanted his to look like then set himself to helping scoop out all the goop and seeds with JoJo and Nick, but we all really leaned on Nick as our super scooper.  Cooper had a lot of fun bouncing from person to person and especially enjoyed Papa’s high vantage point on his shoulders and riding his first tricycle.  Cooper and Nick even secretly decided to do some twinning and coordinated their outfits for the day, so cute. When Jack was 3 months old we took photos of him in the pumpkins at my parents front door so we tried to re-create something similar this year with Coop.  Jack’s been loving the fall/Halloween season and has a lot more fun Halloween activities still to come at his PCC school and his pre-school on top of boring old trick or treating.  If the excitement for Halloween is any indicator this Christmas season should be epic for Jack.

Courting Elodie

Courting Elodie Header (1 of 1)

Jack and Elodie have had a thing going ever since Elodie hosted Jack for vacation   in Charlottesville, VA last July. While there they hit the local pool, took their parents wine tasting, ate at fine dining establishments, and enjoyed the plethora of flavors of ice cream and fro-yo in town.

Sadly living on separate coasts meant they had to work extra hard on maintaining their relationship once the vacation was over.  I think they both knew the long-distance thing was going to be tough but what 2 or 3 year old is truly prepared enough.  Elodie has really put in her effort in by mailing cards, letters, and drawings for Jack.  Jack on the other hand has been methodically planning on how to further woo her on their next in person visit.

They finally got their much needed re-connection this July when the two of them both went to Santa Barbara to see their grandparents.  The meet-up was scheduled for Chase Palm Park and it was clear from the start the two needed some warming up.  Jack thought it best to start with some snacks and he came out strong by trying to show Elodie he could eat 2 protein bars packed with 21 grams of protein each, Elodie however was not impressed at first.

Once they were adequately satiated it was time to get a group photo with the mommies and for Jack to show off his little brother Coop.  Jack thought that this gesture of sharing his little brother and showing off how the polaroid from that day would impress, but it was clear Elodie was going to make Jack earn it.

Jack’s next tactic was to share his “treasures” which included having Elodie close her eyes while he “s’prised” her with a feather.  After bribery failed Jack knew he needed to take advantage of the spike of protein he was metabolizing and did so by showing off his rolling skills on both concrete and grass hills. Yet again, Jack was left hanging.

Being spurned got Jack thinking and he knew he needed to be a gentleman and pull out his last trick, the ever classic flower.  Sure enough Jack’s hard work, commitment, and chivalry paid off and he got that glimmer of interest out of Elodie that had been eluding him all morning.

With the special bond back together the two went off to meet their latest little buddy Chance, and see Sarah’s other good friend Laura who was also in town. It was clear from the group photos that Jack and Elodie were smitten with each other and they had a wonderful time showing off for the new babies.

Sadly the trip had to end and Elodie and Jack had to say their goodbyes yet again. Luckily Elodie and her family have moved closer and are now just a stone’s throw away in Salt Lake City, UT.  Jack is especially excited though, as Kristy and Elodie will be making a special visit down to Jack’s house this week and I’m sure these two will have a blast being back together again.


Cambria (10 of 31)

Right before Brandon’s paternity leave ended, we took a trip sans Jack. Cooper was about 3 and a half months old, and we figured that this was as good a time as any to travel with a baby. He still could sleep in his car seat during outings and he didn’t yet have super set naptimes.

After some initial disagreements about where to go—we were originally going to go to San Diego and get a discount that did not come to fruition—we found a little hotel in Cambria and booked it a few weeks before our trip. The hotel, Cambria Beach Lodge, has a downscaled Palm Springs Ace Hotel vibe—without the amazing pool and awesome private porches. It turned out to be great for our trip. The rooms are small, most face the parking lot and do not have ocean views, but the hotel is right across the street from the beach. It is also walkable to most everything in Cambria.

Side note: The biggest added plus about Cambria was that most of the time we were there the weather was in the 60s, which was a VERY welcome change from 98 degree Pasadena. We wore sweaters, sweatshirts and pants! Seriously glorious after a burning hot July.

We headed up to Cambria from Santa Barbara on a Saturday morning. We happened to stop at Morro Bay Coffee Company on the way–a small quaint place to get a mid-morning snack and coffee.

Our next stop was Hearst Castle, which is on the way to Cambria. We didn’t book the tour in advance because it was more expensive that way, but were able to get into a tour (the Grand Rooms) and wait only a little over an hour for it to begin. Part of this time was spent watching an educational video about Hearst Castle, so it worked out well. Brandon had never been to Hearst Castle, and I had only gone once for Honor Society in Jr. High, so I didn’t remember much.

Once there, we took a shuttle from the visitor center to Hearst Castle, which is way up on the hill. The weather is significantly hotter as you climb the hill, and being at Hearst Castle was actually the one time during our trip when I was hot. I enjoyed the tour and I would like to do another (they offer a bunch of different ones) and see some other parts of the property.

After the tour, we drove to our hotel, checked in, and got settled. Luckily Cooper was able to nap on the go in the pack and stroller. We then walked about a mile to 927, a microbrewery in Cambria. It had a cool vibe, was small and kid friendly, and had good beers. Cooper slept part of the time in his car seat and also was happy to chill there—3 months is a good age to take babies everywhere!

For dinner that night we went to the Moonstone Beach Bar and Grill. This spot was recommended to us by someone who worked at 927; however, the food was just OK. The view was nice. It overlooked the water, but I wouldn’t go back because it lacked the uniqueness of a lot of other restaurants there and was not cheap.

What was awesome about going out to dinner both nights was that Cooper was able to sleep in his car seat most of the time so we could enjoy dinner and not worry about being out late.

The next morning we had breakfast in our hotel lobby. The breakfast was small but free: hard boiled eggs, bread, and fruit. It worked.  Then Cooper napped at the hotel. After this, we walked about two miles to go to Robin’s for lunch. The walks we took were always great because there is a path right by the beach to get to most places.  We learned that on the weekends (maybe just Sunday?) Robin’s doesn’t have their regular menu, but we enjoyed the brunch options.

After Robin’s we went to Seed and Soul, a cool coffee place to chat and get a drink. We then headed to Moonstone Cellars for wine tasting. This is the winery where we went to with the Wammacks and Hoppers two years ago. The Wammacks are members, and this winery does not disappoint! It had moved locations from a few years ago but is still in the same general vicinity and now has more room.  Again, Cooper did great, sleeping in the pack and stroller. He was happy to chill.

We came back to the hotel and were able to read on the hotel’s roof deck that overlooks the ocean. We also brought back a nice bottle of wine to drink.

That night we went to Sea Chest, a restaurant right by our hotel. This one we recommend. The only catch is they do not take reservations in advance, and you have to get there an hour or so before they open and stand in line to get one of the first spots. We didn’t know this but were still able to get in around 7:30. We went back to our hotel in between so it worked out. They also have a giant fire pit outside that you can wait at and a bar inside. One other issue is they don’t take cards, only cash. We totally recommend this place. The charm of the building, the food, and the views are all worth it.

The next morning we headed out fairly early to get back to Jack—this was our first time leaving him for two nights without either of us. We stopped at Highstreet Deli in SLO to get sandwiches for lunch.

Brandon and I agree it was a great amount of time to be away and take advantage of the infant stage.


Cooper is 5 months

Processed with VSCO with hb2 preset

Dear Cooper,

You are five months old, and you are our chubby-thighed, giggly, smiley, chill, little guy! You have your bottom two teeth! They came in about a month ago and we keep waiting for you to get more because you constantly want something in your mouth! You enjoy rolling onto your stomach and lifting your head to look at and grab things–unless it is nighttime! Then rolling onto your stomach causes you to be fussy and awake.

You now face out in the Ergo carrier and clearly enjoy it. You will squeal in delight when I take you out: The bookstore, Jack’s PCC class, the pool—you love all of the sensory input!  You also like to stand while being held around your tummy and stomping your feet. You like being in your play jungle and looking up at all of the hanging animals. You enjoy putting all of your baby toys in your mouth. You are constantly kicking and rolling over. You still enjoy sitting in the mamaRoo and the Baby Bjorn chairs as long as you can reach for or play with something in them. We just got a baby bouncer for you, and you like that for short periods of time, too. Your legs never stop moving!

Your nights have gone through different stages. When you were really small, you had gas all night. Poor thing! That kept you up, especially as the night went on. Then around 3 ½ – 4 ½  months you started sleeping a little better and the gas seemed to go away…but now it seems like it is back. You are waking much more in the night for comfort. Sometimes you wake up happy; it’s as if you are ready to start your day at 4 AM, much to my dismay. Although I have to admit, those coos you make are kind of adorable, and would be much more so if it wasn’t the middle of the night.

You love Jack, even though he is a rascal to you a lot of the time. His hugs can be just a little too rough. His kisses a little too smothering. You like watching everything he does, though! You giggle so much while you watch him, and it is the cutest thing ever. You like to watch Jack jump up and down and run around the house, and he loves that you like watching him so much.

Right after you turned 4 months, I slowly started inching my way back into my part-time teaching job. Your grandmas are watching you two times a week while Jack is in preschool. We are still transitioning, but I think we are all starting to adjust nicely. On Fridays, Jack is in preschool and I get to spend time with just you! This, I’ve found, is rare for the second child. I’m excited about our special time together.




Jack 3rd Birthday Header (1 of 1)

Dear Jack,

You are three! A lot has happened in the last few months. You got a baby brother! You started preschool! You stopped wearing diapers during the day! You have opinions and constantly ask, “what are we going to do ah-day (aka today)… and after that… and after that?” You want to be in-the-know all the time. You also stopped sleeping as well as you used to – right in time for Cooper to be born – timing, people!  You dropped your nap on most days, a little after turning 2 ½. The only thing that will put you to sleep during the day is driving around in the car. It’s a tradeoff because then you are up much later than your original bedtime.

You started waking up in the middle of the night about three weeks before Cooper was born – did I mention timing?! At first, Dad or I would come lay next to your bed until you went back to sleep. Some nights this became too much, because you would wake up multiple times, so now, sometimes, you get to sleep at the foot of our bed on your mattress. I think part of this change in sleep habits is because you are so much more aware of your surroundings now, and you realize much more the distance between your room and ours.

This awareness also makes you so much fun to be around. You don’t miss anything. You know all of your play cars by memory: “Where is the red car, with the broken engine, and tiny wheel?” you might ask – and this is out of about a hundred match box cars you own, 20 of which are red. You recognize when we drive a different way to someone’s house. You notice which exits on the freeway go to certain locations. This was not inherited from me!

You loved watering the garden you started with Dad (you two were growing tomatoes, lettuce, and strawberries, among other things), and you had lots of questions when most of it did not survive the extreme heat of this summer. “Is this another crazy day?” you will ask. This is how your dad and you talk about really, really hot days, which have been most days this summer. Ugh. This weather has also solidified your love for swimming. After I took you to swim lessons on and off for a few years, your dad was able to take you because of his paternity leave this summer. You loved this, and you’ve loved getting to spend so much time with your Dad. You two enjoyed bike rides to bagels, park days, Kidspace, swim days at JoJo and Papa’s (I was there for those), and endless imaginary play at our house. Dads are truly the best and have endless energy.

You do seem to love hanging out with your brother. A lot of the time you show that love in a somewhat forceful way: hugs that are a little too tight, pats on the back that might be interpreted as a hit, cuddling that looks more like wrestling, and sometimes a forceful little roar or song in his face—but I legitimately think you love being around Cooper. It’s just hard to contain so much emotion and newness when you are 2 ½ – 3. You have a new fascination with boobs (after breastfeeding for two years yourself) now that Cooper is breastfeeding. Your artwork now includes people with large “boobs” and long stick legs. You are very matter of fact about it. And I mean, breastfeeding is a fact of life! It’s why humans have survived for generations, but I digress. Another favorite drawing subject of yours is balloons. You draw them pretty well. Who knows what will be next!

You are also interested in music. Your favorite song is not exactly age appropriate: Timber by Pitbull, featuring Ke$sha. You LOVE to dance to this song. You’re also pretty into Homecoming by Josh Ritter. You used to love this song when you were close to one. The buildup at the beginning got you, and it still does! Your dad is so happy because you like to watch me play the piano and sing along. You also like to listen to your dad play the guitar. You have a little ukulele that you like to play and sing with as you dance.

You have so much fun playing with other kids now… well most of the time – it’s still hard to share sometimes. You’ve been known to burst out crying when it’s time to go after a play date. Your best friend is Addie – she is almost 6 and this match will not last forever, but it’s very sweet the way she plays with you and is genuinely excited, and how you both jump up and down yelling when you see each other. This friendship was made even more special at your birthday as Addie decided to give you that memorable first kiss during your party. Addie’s brother, Rhett, is also starting to join your little crew. You also started to make friends in your PCC class. Riley (a boy) is your best friend there. You two will hold hands and run around wildly, finding excitement in your shared painted toe nails – you wanted them painted “just like mommy.” Riley has a little brother too, and you both like to show off your baby brothers to each other. Another friend, Ezra, has introduced you to transformers and Star Wars. You two can be prickly at first but then fall into a rhythm and truly enjoy each other’s company.

Lastly let’s not forget how much you love your family. From uncles and aunts, to your Mimi and Grandpa, and Jojo and Papa.  You love to be with all of them and always ask if we are doing stuff “with our family?” You have even gone so far as to say you have 3 houses because you love going to both your grandparents house as much if not more than your own.

Favorite phrases:

“Member when…”

“Ah-morrow will we see our friends?”

“Ah-day are we going to play that?”

“Berry quickly I will watch this show.”

“Where the blue crayon is?”

We love you Jack. The magic of seeing life through a child’s eyes is truly a gift.



Coop’s First Dodgers Game

Coops 1st Dodger Game Header (1 of 1)

Thanks to some kind friends we were offered 4 free loge level tickets to the Dodgers game last week.  It was a night game but paternity leave was close to ending and we figured why not be some cool parents and keep our boys up late.  For Dodgers fans this was fun because we got to see Brian Dozier’s first game in Dodgers Blue and they ultimately won, although we were long gone before the win was in sight.  Two kids at a game is incredibly hard but it was still a ton of fun and I’d do it again in a heart beat.  It also helped that it was $1 Dodger Dogs night so I didn’t mind that Jack and Coop didn’t touch theirs and it wasn’t so bad that Sarah tried to eat one an inning.  Jack remembered that last year he got a frozen yogurt so he demanded one of those until he finally got his way.  He also was super into taking photos with the DSLR and actually used the view finder.  Surprisingly some of them actually looked artistic, I was tempted to do another set of photos he just took but I decided to just save that for another day.  Looking forward to many more games with the family like this in the future.