Saturday, May 28, 2016

Some of our May

May was a busy and fun month.With the end of school coming, our family beach trip, birthdays, mother's day, and Michael's Africa trip there was much to plan for and we tried to have as much family time together as possible.
We went to frontier city a few times. The kids have found their favorite things to do when we go.
Benjamin loves this little train, and especially if he can sit in the front to be the "conductor" and ring the bell incessantly while it goes around. :)

Isabella and I attended the mother/daughter spa night at church. We had a fun evening and she enjoyed planning our matching outfits for the fashion show. We also went to Roxy's for ice cream afterward with Jillian and Heather and that was fun!

Mother's day morning out to breakfast.

Benjamin spent lots of time playing bubbles on the back porch.

I got an awesome coupon from zappos and got Isabella some saltwaters for just over $5! She's been so excited to have matching shoes with me.

Enjoying some after dinner backyard play time

She had her "Medals in May" where parents get to come in the gym and watch what all they do in their gymnastic classes. She had been excited about this day for weeks!

She's moving up to the 6 year old class now! 

We said goodbye to Michael for 12 days as he left on his Africa adventure. Isabella was quite tearful. 

Our first night with Dad gone, bedtime success. The evenings can be long when you're single parenting. Knowing that no one is coming to help with dinner, and bath time, and bed time and all the things that need to get done. But our first night went smoothly and that was a blessing to have happy hearts to start off our longest time without Dad.

We met my mom after the last day of school at the zoo and then my parents took us to cheesecake factory for dinner.

Playing tea party together. Also known as, making a huge mess with water everywhere...but they have a great time.

Michael sent us lots of pictures and updates from Kenya. This was a goat a village presented them with after a well was completed for them.

Benjamin's last day of mother's day out for the Spring. They had some special activities planned for the day. Here he is finishing up his letter B bread stick for lunch time.

Friday, May 20, 2016

Last day of school and other milestones

 Isabella had her last day of PreK. It's hard to believe the year flew by as fast as it did! She loved going to school every day and often asks how much longer til she gets to stay all day. She made lots of friends and grew a few inches taller. She is excited for Kindergarten!

 In May she also lost her first tooth, well technically second tooth. But her first tooth that wasn't lost by a painful accident. :) It had been wiggly for a while, and fell out without her knowing it had happened. The tooth was no where to be found, but she was just so happy and relieved that there was no pain with the tooth coming out that she didn't seem to mind it couldn't be found.

She also had her first big hair chop. She had been asking for several months for a shorter cut. (It is a little shorter than this when its not straightened with her curly hair) I felt a little sad to see all that long hair go, but its much easier to brush at this length!

Saturday, May 07, 2016

Benjamin turns 3!

We had fun celebrating our sweet boy for his third birthday! He wanted to have a Thomas birthday (which is also what he had for #2) and he was so excited about it. He woke up the morning of his party calling out, "its time for my thomas birthday!!!" He was very disappointed when he came out of his room and the party wasn't happening and his cupcakes weren't decorated. I hadn't realized, but he apparently thought it would be similar to Christmas morning. When he had been told his party was the next day he thought he'd come out of his bed to a party. Once I explained the party was in a little bit he was OK.
We had an assortment of Benjamin's favorite foods. Bacon, sausage, pigs in a blanket, strawberries, pretzels, and donut holes.

Choo choo!!

Mom came over a few days before and the kids helped decorate the #3 cookies she made.

He was suuuuper excited about his "Thomas nada", the pinata he had picked out. I was afraid he might be really upset when it got smashed to bits, but he was ok with it.

Yay!! Happy 3 Buddy!!

Playing with the bubble machine he got at his party.

His party was on a Saturday, but his actual birthday wasn't until Tuesday the next week. So we saved some family celebrating for his actual day.
Isabella woke up him the morning of his birthday. She was so excited for him to wake up and open his presents.

#3 Pancakes...he mostly just ate sausage! :)

After we picked up Isabella from school we went to oncue to get birthday icees. One of their favorite treats!

He wanted chicken nuggets for dinner. There was a threat of severe weather that evening so we went ahead and picked up the nuggets after we got icees to secure them since one time last spring chickfila closed and wouldn't serve people when there was severe weather. After dinner we sang one last time and he had a little bit of a cupcake left over from his party.

The next morning was his three year old well check. He was 35lbs and I forgot to catch his height, but in 70-80 percentiles for both. This year he has exploded with his language and been singing more and more. He tends to be more of an introvert than his sister, but loves spending time with family and his friends. He loves trains, diggers, seeing construction sites when we are out and about, putting things together and taking them apart, and having singing time with Izzy (which consists of listening to loud children's songs in her room and she gives him a stamp on his hand).
Happy three years Benjamin Gray! You are such a joy!

Thursday, May 05, 2016

California trip

With baby #3 on its way, we decided the weekend we found out we were pregnant we wanted to plan a couples getaway.  We had pretty much decided on New York City, as we were about to book, changed our minds and settled on northern California. We went for the early, early flight, which always sounds good at the time. Arrive early, have a day to explore vs loosing a whole day traveling. But getting up for those early flights is never fun.

We landed in San Jose and picked up our rental car, and headed to Phil's fish market for lunch. I had the cioppino, as seen in the thrown down with Bobby Flay.

Then we headed to pacfic grove. We checked out the seal birthing area and saw lots of Mama and baby seals on the beach.

Then to Crema for my favorite latte, the fog breaker, and a delicious creamy lemon square. Then we headed to Emily's house to take a nap and hang out.

We had a date night with the Rollings that night. We went to Grasings in Carmel. It was delicious!  

The next morning Emily made breakfast for us and we hung out for a while. Then we said goodbye as they were leaving for Disneyland that day. We headed to whole foods and picked up some things for a picnic and went to Point Lobos to go hiking. It is so beautiful there!!

After we had done a few of the trails, we headed to downtown Monterey to the aquarium. Its one of the top 10 things to do in Monterey. I don't know that we would have gone since we didn't have our kids, but the Rollings had free passes we could use, so it was fun to go for just a little while and I got to show Michael some of the things the kids and I had enjoyed there when we went before.

We went back to the house to nap and change clothes afterward. Then headed out on 17 Mile drive.

The Lone Cypress at Pebble Beach

After we did the drive we went to Pebble Beach golf course to watch the bagpiper that crosses to golf course, playing bagpipes to close the course down at sunset. They have seating areas with fire pits and food and drinks to order.

The last song he plays is Amazing grace. It was great. We went to Carmel again for dinner that night and ate at Dametra. And it was so good!! :)

Friday morning we did the Big Sur drive, and hit up all the big sites along the way.

The famous Bixby bridge

We went to Pfeiffer beach with the purple sand. Which is really beautiful. But it was so incredibly windy that day the sand was pelting us like small bullets. So we didn't stay very long.

Smiling despite the flinging sand stinging our legs.

I love this huge rock there!
We ate at the beautiful Nepenthe for lunch and continued on the drive.

We did the short hike at the Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park to the waterfall there.

On our way back in to town we went to fisherman's wharf and walked around a little and got some candy for the kids at a fun candy shop. We watched the seals at the bottom of this photo for a while.
Then we ate dinner at a restaurant there on the wharf.

Saturday morning went got up early and went to Pavel's to get pastries for breakfast. The reviews were amazing, and it was true that people had lined up at the door before it opened. And it did not disappoint! We got ready after that and drove to Big Basin state park to see the redwood forest there.

We did a short hike, checked out the incredible trees, and then headed back to Monterrey.

We stopped at In and Out for lunch.

Then on to Alisomar Beach to the tide pools there and walked along the beach there for a while. It is such a pretty beach!

We took naps again and then went back to Carmel for dinner. I've forgotten where we ate, but it was REALLY good. :)

Sunday morning we went to brunch at the Carmel Mission Ranch. They had live music and pretty much every food you could think of.

The scenery was beautiful there, with the rolling hills, beach in the distance and Point Lobos. And the food was great.

We went and checked out the nesting seals again. I could watch them for a long time! Then back to crema for one last latte before loading up to head to the airport.

The trip was such a gift and we are so grateful to my Mom for caring for the kids while we were away. It was so nice to finish our thoughts and conversations without interruption or just be quiet together, see some of God's incredible creation and eat at such wonderful places, and take naps every day.

I was ready to get home to my kids though. And we spent monday morning at home together before Isabella had school. They played picnic and searching for cloud shapes that morning and I soaked them in. Its good to go and its good to come home too.