Camping #2 with 2 babies!

It was always our desire to finish off the summer with ONE last camping trip. It was previously scheduled for the weekend before school started (our anniversary weekend), but we postponed it at the last minute.

Saturday morning, we woke up bright and early and drove 2.5 hours to Wheeler Gorge, a campground right outside of Ojai (a small town 30 min. inland from Santa Barbara, for those who don’t know a lot about CA).

Quick travel tip for those with young kids: we try to always leave early in the morning, before they’re accustomed to being up, because they are sleepy and do well in the car. My analogy is this: you harvest honey in the morning, while the bees are still dozing, right? So that you don’t get stung?

Although the Shelbys were also set to join us, their daughter got super sick last minute and they ended up spending the weekend nursing her back to health 😦 But we did get Ben!

Overall…the campground was a LITTLE too hot for my taste. It was over 90 during the day, and only cooled off to around 75 at night. We didn’t even end up sleeping inside of our sleeping bags! Practically, this worked out well since whenever we camp (or whenever else, for that matter!) I co-sleep with Anthony and don’t use covers in order to be safe. So it worked out well for me!

Also, the stream wasn’t deep enough for swimming, just minor wading, which was a bit of a bummer (although I had Anthony strapped to me in the Mei Tai the whole time, so I’m not sure how that would have worked anyways…?). G LOVED the river. As in, “throw me in some cold water, Dad! I’m totally DOWN!!”

One other minor hiccup…Gregory pulled a stubborn streak of steel and decided that he would NOT sleep. Seriously. We thought it might have been because he could hear us talking around the campfire, but when we all transitioned to the tent around midnight, he STILL wouldn’t sleep! What on earth? I’ve never seen him so stubborn. He glared back at Jesse and directly disobeyed him for over an hour, as Jesse tried to be firm without also letting G wake up the entire campground with his high pitched screaming. I fell asleep in the middle of it all…when I woke up around 6, his pack n play was empty, so I started searching the tent for him. I found him curled up into a ball, no blankets, in the corner of the tent. I think somewhere in there Jesse must’ve given up and let G “do his thing” until he dropped…which he *eventually* did!

Good morning!

Between the 4 of us (G included) we finished off EIGHTEEN eggs!

You can see in G’s eyes how much of a toll that late night of stubbornness took on him!

Gregory and Momma!

Taking down the chairs

As always, the great imitator!

Gregory was gettin cranky, so while the boys took down the tents, I walked G around. You can see Anthony in the background, sleeping like an angel. Tough life…

After we were done packing up, we used some of the leftover water to hose down the mess-that-was-Gregory

Despite the fact that the water was COLD, he loved it!

awww

On the way home, we all stopped in Ventura at Panera Bread….this picture probably gives you an idea of how tired the boys were!

Anniversary #6!

6 years ago today, Jesse and I vowed to spend the rest of our lives together. Boy, do we have plenty of adventures to show for those years! Not to mention our adorable offspring.

Jesse knows me so well that he picked the best restaurant ever for the occasion– Thomas Hill Organics in downtown Paso. They grow their own produce at their farm outside of Paso, and buy everything else locally. Their menu changes weekly, depending on availability. SO ME right now!

After a great dinner with one AWESOME glass of wine and even some beer, we left to rescue my mom and sister from AJ…you see, they offered to babysit. I left a frozen bag of milk, PLUS I pumped some right before leaving (he was asleep). Well, whaddya know, he doesn’t want to take a bottle anymore? Hmm. Granted, he’s only had 4 in his entire life, but his last one was only a few days ago! This little development should make things scary interesting for the next 8 months! Although it has the potential to be a logistical nightmare, a part of me kind of likes that he only wants me…

Anyways, back to rescuing my mom and Janelle from the screaming baby. They drove the 15 minutes to meet us in Paso, so we didn’t need to go far. I was able to nurse AJ (he nursed like he’d never nursed before, seriously. The kid GUZZLED like a tropical fern suddenly transported to the Sahara Desert), then give him back to my mom who drove him home.

The end of our date consisted of getting some frozen yogurt and reminiscing about the past 6 years and setting relationship goals for the next year (c’mon, it’s not a “Cone” date unless there are goals…).

As we drove back, I remarked to Jesse how COOL it is that we have 9 years of memories (6 married, 1 engaged, 2 dating) to look back on. Yup, it’s pretty neato.

Just so you can see how awesome and creative the menu was!

It’s such a cute little restaurant!

The wine was absolutely incredible.

Kale/avocado/mushroom salad

Jesse’s pizza with amazing cheeses that I can’t even pronounce

Ventura Vacay

Since Joe is only here for one more week before heading back to Gonzaga, my mom arranged for us all to spend the weekend in Ventura. She got us a beachside hotel to boot (which explains all of our sunburns). We also did some shopping at the mall and some swimming in the hotel pool.

Jesse, the rebel

Gregory was super adorable

He LOVES the beach. I’m pretty sure he could spend an entire day playing in the sand

While this might look like Jesse shoved him under, he actually was pulling him up from a wave

The aftermath, being carried away by Dadda 🙂

Practicing a few yoga poses on the rocks….well, I WAS

 

I’m definitely not very flexible anymore (I used to be able to touch my ankles). Le sigh. The price of bearing children 🙂

Some handstands

Walking

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Big Sur Preview

I haven’t found my camera cord yet, which means that MY Big Sur pics have yet to be downloaded. But here is a family picture, taken by sweet Emily Grace (David’s girlfriend, not my sister in law…yet!) that I just had to share for one particular reason.

Note G’s “drowned rat” face. Don’t be fooled, he absolutely LOVED playing in the freezing cold river. At one point, Jesse asked him if he wanted more, and he looked up, teeth chattering and lips turning blue and said, “Mo, riv-uh!”

This was Gregory’s first pool experience at 5 months. Notice the face?

Here’s the same face again at 7 months!

Also, not to overstate the obvious– we did it. We camped with TWO kids under the age of 2 years old: 4 days, 3 nights. How we survived? Other than the first night (after which I was like, “we’re getting a hotel or going home. end of story.”) things were pretty easy, probably because we had a TON of help from our families (my parents’ site and jesse’s parents’ site were side by side).

But more on that later!

 

 

San Luis Obispo

A friend of mine on Facebook just posted an aerial view of when she paraglided over our neck of the woods.

 

You gotta admit. San Luis Obispo is downright gorgeous.

Beach Day

Today was one of those days that makes me okay with not having gone into labor yet.

The day started off with me getting up with G at 8am so that Jesse could sleep, then switching at 9am so that I could sleep. And sleep I did, until 11am! Already an awesome day.

G went down for his nap at around 11:30, and so Jesse and I spent time reading, listening to music and drinking coffee. Who invented Spring Break, and how can I thank them? Oh yes, Jesus did, when He died and rose again. Hmm…already working on thanking Him. It’s tough.

At 2pm, after a quick lunch, Jesse G and I jumped in the car and drove the 30 minutes to Pismo Beach where my doula runs her little yoga house. Jesse dropped me off for my prenatal massage (1 hour of heaven, I tell you! Everyone should have a small bamboo room that smells faintly of coconut and has Enya playing in the background) and headed a few blocks down to the beach with G.

After my massage, they picked me up and the 3 of us went to Jamba Juice for some awesome smoothies.

Lastly, we went for a walk around Shell Beach, a quaint little place sandwiched between Pismo and Avila. The weather couldn’t have been more perfect– 75 degrees, sunny with a light breeze.

A seaside cliff on one side, the gorgeous green mountains on the other

G loved the scenery

He also loved pointing out the waves and the seagulls

I love watching him experience these things!

At one point, we thought he was following us. On turning around, we realized the truth--he was occupied (once again) with the sand and rocks. Oops!

Jesse took these pictures to prove that, in fact, I was actually there with them 🙂

Funny story about this blue shirt-- it has a mysterious stain on it. Then I realized that the last time I wore it was when I was in labor with G! Hmm....maybe it's good luck?

G was a little too tired to complete the walk back to the car. I feel ya, kiddo!

Along the same lines…

Our drive to church 🙂

For Granted

Having lived in Texas for 4 years– a place that is wonderfully green many months out of the year, but oh-so-flat!– driving around this area still catches me off guard with all its beauty. Seriously– this is the drive I get to make, 2-3 times a week! As I was growing up, it never used to strike me how pretty the views and the mountains are. I think that people who have been living here for a while start to take commutes like this for granted!

Escrow!

So….there’s still plenty of time for things to go wrong. 45 days worth of time, to be exact. So I’m not going to jinx things by writing too much about our possible house. Negotiations have been going on for over a week, and I intentionally haven’t mentioned it, simply because I don’t want to speak too soon. We’ve never done this “house offer” thing, and it’s all a bit terrifying.

But here are a few of the upsides and downsides, if we get this house:

1. Downside #1: The payment is a bit more than I wanted in my “perfect” budget– the one in which I don’t work at all. I will have to continue teaching next year, at least working a total of 15-20 hours. I have a feeling (hardy-haha) that working this much will be much tougher once we have two kiddos. Then again…in some ways it will be easier, because I won’t be incredibly nauseous (like I was for the first 3 months of teaching this year) or incredibly large and uncomfortable, with tons of contractions that make it difficult to talk…or move…tough stuff when you’re lecturing in front of teenagers! Let me tell you, trying not to say a 4-letter word when you’re having a sudden sharp and painful contraction and they’re all watching?…awkward much??

2. Downside #2: The house is a bit smaller than we originally wanted. It has 3 bedrooms, but the 3rd one is small. Then again, utilities will be a dream, and I was already adamant that I wanted the boys to share a room (after Anthony is done co-sleeping with us for 6-8 months). So the 3rd bedroom is actually a perfect size and location for a much needed office! And I’ve definitely realized that square footage is completely misleading– it all depends on efficiency of layout. For example, the living/dining area in this house is bigger and more usable than in our larger apartment back in TX! In fact, even though this house is 300 square feet smaller than our last apartment, it feels the same or bigger, overall. Plus….can’t beat the whole “1 story” and “2 car garage” convenience! Hurray for no more stairs!!! And Gregory loves playing in the yard, so I love how both the kitchen and dining room look out over the backyard. Multi-tasking, here we come!

3. Downside #3: No room for a chicken coop. Haha, this could seem like a small or  big deal, depending on how you look at it. I’m over-ambitious as to what I can do/accomplish, working, finishing my masters degree, all with two kids, so this actually reigns me in a little bit 🙂 We’ve estimated, from measurements and such, that the backyard is big enough for 2 large garden beds, a nice patio area, and a sandbox/playground area. We don’t want any lawn to maintain in the backyard, so it’s perfect in that regard. The front yard, however, has a nice lawn– we just need to fence it in, since the road going by it is a bit busier than I’d like, especially during school drop off and pick up hours.

4. UPSIDE #1: This one is HUGE. Like mega-huge. This house is SO CLOSE to our work, that we could literally throw a rock and hit the Kindergarten playground! Not that we’d want to…but you get the point. Jesse will be able to walk out the front door and be sitting at his desk within 5 minutes! In “Biola terms”, the distance is something like Hart Hall to the baseball field– THAT close! Since I am back and forth so much, given my part time status, this will be perfect for me when I’m coming home to nurse for a moment (instead of having to pump!).  On my days off, Gregory, Anthony and I can just grab the stroller, walk around the corner, and meet Jesse for lunch! The other thing very nearby is the library– about a 6 minute walk in the other direction! My parents are a little further away– a 3 minute drive, 15 minute walk. Not bad, eh?

The green arrow is the house. See where it intersects "High School Hill Rd"? That's the school! The library is where Atascadero Ave. and Navajoa St. intersect. And being so close to the freeway will cut down on the driving when I go to Paso or San Luis Obispo for piano lessons!

I love the thought of yet another year where Jesse is home by 3:15, every day. On Mondays and Fridays, this means we have several hours together as a family before G goes to bed. On Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, this means I can get all of my piano lessons taught by dinner time. Awesome!!

4. Upside #2: The house is only 8 years old, built the year I graduated from high school (funny, I can actually remember them beginning construction on it around that time!). So we won’t need to worry about replacing a roof or high utilities, since the windows, water heater and ac unit are super new. The seller just replaced the carpet in the entire house as well– a bit of a downside, since I wanted an excuse to put in wood floors right away. But it’s better for our budget, to be sure 😉

So there you have it. We picked this house not because it’s our dream/forever home, but because it is perfect for us in our “5 Year Plan”. Our goals for this plan include having our student loans and car loan completely paid off, so not getting our big dream house will enable us to have the $ to meet these goals. And we’re tired of throwing money away every month in rent, especially when renting a house big enough for 4 people is more expensive than a mortgage!

And, to be honest, when I think about the fact that in 45 days I might have my own house, with my own yard and my own kitchen….I’m soooo deliriously giddy that it’s hard to even imagine what my dream house ever could look like! It’s so much nicer and so much more than we’ve ever had before…I can’t wait to raise my two little boys in it!!!

I can even bear the thought of Gregory and Anthony going to Preschool/Kindergarten, since I would nearly be able to watch them on the playground from my front porch (not to mention the free tuition)! And you can shove off with your helicopter-mamma comments, I will just ignore them 🙂

CA Days 5-10

Things rreally sped up at the tail end of our CA vacation. For 4 days and 3 nights we went camping at Big Sur with our old church, along with our two families and lotsa good friends. I was scared to death about the logistics of camping with a baby, but it was actually not too bad! He slept in the pack n play in our tent with the white noise machine (batteries!), waking only one or two times every night. Of course, he was like a little rooster, waking up our entire campsite at 7 am sharp! But he was still able to take one or two long naps a day in the tent, sometimes falling asleep in other places (depending on what we were doing).

One of the things that made it easier was the fact that the Cones and the Honeycutts had sites right next to each other! This meant that as long as an adult was at either site and agreed to be the designated “G listener” during nap/sleep times, Jesse and I could roam the campground, sitting around campfires, chatting with good friends like Tim and Hope. In other words, because of G’s decent sleep habits that survived even the wackiest of schedules, along with gracious parents, Jesse and I were able to have quite a bit of “baby free” time to just chill, go hiking/swimming, ride bikes to get icecream at the lodge, etc. It was very fun and very needed.

The view of the mountains from our campsite

G, asleep after a walk with his Aunt Janelle and a few of her friends

The blanket that we set up for G to crawl around on

Our little family!