Thursday, August 4, 2011

I've Moved! The Blog, That Is...

Scott helped me move the blog onto our home server, and I am cooking up some catch-up posts with actual photos. I know, it's been all text and no play. So check it out! The Good Life is now at See you there!

Thursday, July 21, 2011


Okay, so everything is changing at lightspeed right now. Which is ultimately okay, I am just trying to separate out what is good for our family, in regards to Scott's work, and what we just want to do (which is stay put). If I had to narrow down my goals in life to one tagline, it would be: Be Brave. I just want to be brave and have the courage to change, and live, and grow, and make the tough decisions. I want to be brave enough to choose love. I want to be strong enough to swallow my whining and do the work. I want to be brave and not run out and try to "save" other people when I am afraid. I want to be strong enough to drop the things that aren't important, or that do more harm than good. Be brave enough to make good choices, even when that is hard.

But sometimes figuring out what the right choices are is complicated, and deciding whether taking risks with Scott's job is brave or just childish is a tough one right now. It's also hard to know whether we are,  in fact, taking big risks or simply doing the next right thing for us. No idea right now.

The job in San Diego is not really open yet, is what they are telling us. Scott's end date here and their start date leave a gap in the middle that needs filling. How we want to handle that is the current debate. We need to handle that gap with care, and the other people on Scott's team and their best interests are also in our hearts. We may not be able to jump on that opportunity at all, especially when you weigh it against perhaps being able to stay here (which is such a gamble), it all feels a little overwhelming.

I don't want this wavering over when we may need to relocate, or how, to stop me from changing the things I want to change. I want to move out of this house. I want to have another child. Those things are going to take huge amounts of work and stress, and I don't want this Hokey Pokey game with Scott's job to make us feel like we can't handle our life at home. Because ultimately, our family is first. So we either need to do the safe thing (which isn't our ideal choice) because it will lighten the stress on our personal life, or decide that we will take it on and be fine with whatever happens. Be brave enough to do the work (move with kids, deal with ambiguity and risk and toddlers) with the hope that we will get what we want out of it, which is to live here on the Central Coast. Or in San Diego.

Anyway, blah blah. The simple obvious truth is that I am severely tired. We will figure this out. The other update is that I am figuring out the blog and it will be up and functional with pictures, as soon as I get some time and energy back. It's in the works.

Think pretty-blog thoughts! Be back soon.


Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Ch-Ch Changes

Change is in the air. I am such a planner, I like to think I can only deal with change if I've prepared myself, and consequently, I am compelled to know every detail in advance. I've come to accept that this is neither realistic nor possible, but still. I can't help but get antsy anyway! Especially when you hear all of the open-ended, who-knows-maybe type of stuff we have going on. You will understand. Here are some of the changes bumping around my head.

1. Scott's Work Contract Ending
This is the biggie. Maybe I should have put it at the end, because the other things on my mind pale in comparison. To clarify, Scott's contract has been ending since he got the job six years ago. We have had one close call in the years past, where we thought we may need to relocate, but this is pretty serious. It's getting close to the end of the project that Scott works on, (close as in, early September) and the opportunities for more work coming to that site seem to be coming and going, with nothing really taking off. As much as we want to stay in the area, everyone knows that jobs around here, in Scott's field, are slim pickins. We were very blessed to find Lockheed and they are a great employer. So we just have to wait and see what happens. More work could be earmarked for the site here, or we may have to make a move- perhaps a drastic one. It's a strange time, but I'm kind of excited. I love my friends and I love my location, but we will just have to wait and see what's in store for us. I hate the wait and see part.

2. More Kids? When?
We go back and forth, haven't decided whether we want our kids close together, or farther apart. Pregnancy was no picnic for me, so as much as I want more kids and sometimes want them all in one batch- it's tough to actually pursue being pregnant again. No thanks. Can I have someone else do it? Scott is still mostly in a one-kid state of mind, but if/when he does want more, he wants me to carry them if possible. It's just another part of my life that will definitely change, but the timeline is up in the air. Fun.

3. We Need to Move
We have definitely grown out of this house and are itching to get into something with a more open living space and a less strange layout. Not to mention another bedroom would be greatly appreciated. It's a shame, though, as I really love our location. Driving down the hill to our house, the ocean is everywhere, it takes my breath away. I feel very attached to our little community and am hesitant to leave it, for any reason. But, we spend a lot of time at home, and it's just not going to work for us much longer. Plus, if we stay in the area, we could afford to live more comfortably just a few miles closer to where Scott works... if he still works there, of course.

4. Blog Changes
I have reached my photo maximum and have to figure out how to proceed. I can clean out my archives, but obviously that's a short term fix. I can switch to a new host, or host it myself, or I can try out the advertising thing, to try to pay for more space. I don't know but I need to talk it over with my technician (the hubban) and figure out an answer, but until then, no more photos. Boo. I know. I promise I will try to think fast, and I love to blog, so no fear of me disappearing.

Okay, all! Think good thoughts about me figuring out the answers to all these questions asap. Just because, I'd like to know now. Or at least sooner rather than later. Or... now.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Our Beautiful Growing Boy

 Happy Weekend! Just checking in with some photos that I love from this week. Ben has been up and down lately, mood swings all over the place. Sometimes he will sleep easily, wake happily and learn in leaps and bounds. Then there are days like today, where he wakes up crying and his patience is short for the rest of the day. He wants to walk and crawl now. A toy being just out of reach is enough to make him start crying. Poor kid.
One more beauty from swim class on Friday. Happy guys.

We went out to dinner for our fifth wedding anniversary last night. It was a beautiful dinner, at a restaurant posed right on a cliff in Shell Beach. We waited on the balcony, watching the waves crash into the rocks, talking about parenthood and whatever came to mind. Our table was in the middle of a wall of windows, where we could watch the sunset while we ate. It was sublime.

Geez I love this kid. Even when he is acting bipolar. Check it out- cheerful...
Pouty. Two seconds flat.

These are some shots of last week's Super Baby Squad play date, at Colleen's cute house. It is so great meeting up with them every week, I think I would go crazy without Ben and I spending some time with our friends. Especially a nice big group. Amazing food doesn't hurt, either!

Niccole and Landon

Elena and Julie... and a gaggle of babies.

Scott and I are in bed, watching X-Men 2. Can you believe I can blog at the same time? Probably because it is scaring the heck out of me. In a good way, though. My sister is on her way to visit right now, I'm so excited to see her! Scott is taking care of the boy tomorrow (he golfed all day today)- what do you think we should do?

Top Three

Strange thoughts while feeding Ben:

1. So glad we accidentally bought a real wood table. Because Ben likes to chew on it. I hope they also accidentally used a lead-free stain. No seriously, I can't get him to stop trying to eat the table.

2. Scott was opening jar after jar of baby food, when Ben was especially ravenous (and I hadn't cooked), and he commented that he may as well be feeding him one dollar bills. Maybe one dollar bills coated in sweet potato.

3. So this morning I started singing "Forever Young" in my head while I was getting ready to feed Ben. To answer your burning question, I have no idea if it was the original or the remix because I was just singing the chorus over and over again. After breakfast I turned on 30 Rock and they started playing the song- so clearly, I am now psychic. Probably not in a way that is useful.

Actions that have led to my obvious feelings of superior intelligence:

1. Choosing a new carseat with care. This kind of attention to detail is important. It ensures that his next carseat will include a cup holder. However, it does not ensure that the carseat that you had shipped to your house will be able to be installed rear-facing. Extra points if you are informed of this by the police officer attempting to install it in your car. Nice.

2. Choosing age appropriate products for my child. We have a bunch of level one nipples and one level two nipple for Ben. One day it took so long for Ben to drink his bottle that he just plain gave up. Not ever thinking about this we finally looked it up and realized that for his age he should be using a level four. We got about six of them, loaded one up, and he immediately drowned his own eyeball in milk. Hmm. Back to our single #2. We use it for every bottle. I could probably go to the store and buy more.

3. "Home" Making. We have the "water guy" (water softener) and the gardeners (a new and much appreciated addition). They both come on Thursdays. However, we can't figure out which Thursdays are which, and for whom. There is more than one morning I went running down the stairs without so much as throwing a robe on, to unlock the garage door just in time for the water guy. The first month we had the gardeners, we called them, all concerned that they didn't show that day. Their response was... they came last week. Seriously. It's a good thing the biggest thing I have to manage is a house.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Marital Bliss Times Five

From the beginning he put me first. We are a team. 

 He is hilarious. Every so often he will say something when the room has fallen quiet that sets us all laughing. Especially at home, he is always cracking me up. He has a special talent for poking fun at the wife, I think that's where he gets his best material.

copyright Apps Photography

copyright Apps Photography
He likes to cuddle with me even though he says I'm like a heater. The only part of him that ever gets cold are his feet.

He says the best part of being a Dad is the cuddling. He likes to take naps with Ben on the couch.

 I love that he had details he wanted when it came to our wedding. He wanted me in a big white dress, he wanted a veil. See more about that in my big wedding post.

I love that he chose the song for our first dance as husband and wife. We didn't have a song that was significant to us when we were dating. Broken Road by Rascal Flatts came on the radio one night as he was heading home from work and he said it made him think of us.
I love travelling with him. I just love that he always remembers things that I forget, and has a talent for noticing details and checking things in advance. He just makes everything that much easier. We both like the same kind of travel- a little bit of planning and a lot of flexibility. Scotland and Ireland, that was an epic adventure. We had such a great time together and saw so much. In addition to being crazy for each other, we truly are great friends.

Fourth of July in DC can't be beat. I love that we were both as excited as a couple of fifth graders to be up on a roof in DC watching fireworks. There was even ice cream! Ryan Yates may as well have been a movie star, the doors he was opening for us that night. So much fun.

Plus, I love that before we had kids, and we would stay with friends- he would play with their kids, and jumps in to help. He will read to them, help them get their shoes on, play made-up games with them, whatever.
copyright Dan Shaw Photography

I love that we have a system for shutting down the house when we go to bed. Hehe, yes, really. There are a sequence of lights that are turned on and off in a particular order, doors locked, things gathered. If he is first into the bedroom he never remembers to turn on his lamp, but that's alright. It's pretty ridiculous that we go climb in bed together at the same exact time and wait for the other person to finish what they are working on so we can turn out the lights and cuddle up together, too. I love it, it's cute.

Getting pregnant- now that was a challenge. I am so proud of us for getting through that with very little strain on our relationship. It's a heavy thing to go through and I know there are strong bonds out there that have been battered and broken by infertility. It was tough but it made us stronger and ultimately, happier. We learned a lot from that journey and Ben is such a sweet reward.

copyright Dan Shaw Photography
I love that he sings to our baby.

I love that he takes care of the cats and gives them medicine when they need it.

I love that he can take care of Ben for an entire weekend with no fear if needed.

I love that I can tell him absolutely anything. Anything.

Happy Anniversary, Babe. Five more seems easy. A lifetime doesn't sound long enough.

This is our happily ever after.

copyright Dan Shaw Photography

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Happy Summer!

I hope you guys are out and about in this gorgeous weather! Well, it's gorgeous here, anyway. The perfect temperature for shorts or a skirt, the skies are clear, even here at the beach! I think I may get a book or something and take Ben to the beach. Who knows, maybe I can get some friends to go with me.

In honor of summer, I thought I would include some photos from swim class that I took last week. The batteries ran out just before class started, which was a bummer, but I still got some cute ones. I was in such a foul mood right before we left, but seeing how happy Ben and Scott are at swim class never fails to have me back to my chipper self in no time. It's so stinkin' cute, all those babies flapping and splashing around. It would make anybody happier. It's like petting puppies in a pet store.

I think its so adorable how amped up he gets right before he "jumps" in. Arms out to his sides like airplane wings, jaw clenched, everything quivering with excitement and anticipation, and then, when Daddy says three.... squinch face!

Whew! Fun! They do this over and over throughout the swim lesson, and he loves it. It's pretty amazing to watch him go underwater and blink off the water like it's no big thang. What a big boy.

Speaking of, this big boy just turned ten months old. He is so darn cute. He can pull up and cruise all over the living room. It won't be long now before he is toddling around getting into everything. He has special interest in things with sharp corners. Yippee.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Five Years Ago...

My sister graduated from highschool.
I was so proud. She has since finished her bachelor's degree and half of her graduate degree. In just five years. Unbelievable.
Five years ago I had the most amazing bachelorette weekend in Lake Tahoe. Epic.

Five years ago we bought our house. We've since redone the front yard, but the rest is still home sweet home.

And five years ago, we got married. It was a very busy and wonderful year, and I think about it all the time...

Thursday, June 30, 2011

It's a Simple Life

It's been pretty quiet around here, and for the most part we have just been hangin at home, solidifying a routine and trying to get into the habit of being active every day. So, I am working on a Top Three for July, but in the meantime, I thought I would update you on our latest photos and happenings:

I've been a little obsessed with these rise overnight TJ's croissants, don't they look yummy? I couldn't wait, I ate one before I even grabbed the camera.
I love these faces he makes, they are just hysterical!

On a beautiful morning last week, Ben just didn't want to say goodbye to Daddy. When he walked away from his crib that morning, he cried out for him! When Scott left for work, I opened up the front door so that he could watch him pull away.
And then he waved goodbye! So sweet. I wish Scott could have seen it.

We got Ben a new highchair awhile back. It's just like the restaurant highchairs, except that it's stain is dark and it matches our dining set. It was only forty bucks at Target and the height is perfect. He pulls right up to our table and he loves that. We have family dinners together at about six every night and we try to give him what we are having, plus a bit of baby food to fill him up, he's quite an eater.

This last weekend we headed up to the Bay Area for a wedding and Ben stayed with Grandma and Grandpa for the evening. We had a wonderful time out together and I know those three had a ball, too. Ben has gotten to the age where I would bet that he even recognizes the smell of his grandparents' house. When we bring him in from the car and transfer him into the playard, he just rolls over and goes right to sleep until morning. I think he knows exactly where he is and if he wakes during the night he isn't afraid. He is all smiles when he sees his grandparents and immediately lets them take over.

 We had a great time at Mike and Renee's wedding. It was beautiful, and fun, and the food was delicious. I even got Scott out on the dance floor! So we have been having a wonderful couple of weeks.

This week, Ben is extremely fussy even as he is making huge leaps and bounds learning how to crawl. No matter if he has a clean diaper and a full tummy, he is just fussing the whole time he is playing. His teeth are all in, so who knows what's going on with him. He must be having some growing pains. Mama is having some growing pains, too, now. He is so darn cute, though, I think we will get through it. Hope all of you are enjoying your summer!

Friday, June 24, 2011

Night Rider

I love to travel. That being said, I am not a seasoned world traveller by any stretch of the imagination. I've been to Europe twice in my life, and loved it each time, but that's it. I can't even claim to have seen more than a handful of states in this country. But California? I know California.

image from here

Among other routes, I used to drive I-5 from the central coast to Chico, over and over for a couple of months. This was about ten years ago. My car didn't have air conditioning. I would buy a gallon of water and put it behind the passenger seat. Every twenty minutes or so I would grab it by the handle and slosh it over my head, drenching my hair and the entire front of my body, plus the cloth seat. In the dry heat of Sacramento traffic, everything would be dry in about fifteen minutes. However, with all the windows rolled down, you had fifteen minutes of homemade air conditioning!

Understandably, now my favorite time to drive long distances is at night. Despite the fact that I now have air conditioning. I love the community of drivers on the road in the evening. They are mostly long distance drivers, they aren't late for work, and they are more generous than daytime traffic. I love the colors of the evening, my favorite time of day. The silvery metallic blue of the flat freeway, sparkling like a mirage where it meets the glowing horizon. The Salinas river, carving out the landscape like a bright mirror laying in the dark. The headlights sparkle like Christmas lights as the stars start to emerge and the moon rises. Long distance driving is one of the activities that seems to force me to live in the moment. I do my best thinking on the road at night.

image from here

One of the best things I learned from Al-Anon, a support group I belong to, is the metaphor of the rear view mirror. Examining your past is good, and looking to the future is good, but only in short glances. Staring into it for too long is as dangerous as never looking at all. A few glances every so often is just right. I always think of this when I'm driving, for obvious reasons, and I take that opportunity to think about my past, my future, and if my present life is everything I want it to be.

Life for me right now is both peaceful and exciting. I have never felt so aware, empowered and blessed ever in my life. With my husband tapping away on his laptop, my baby fast asleep in the backseat, it feels great to sink into that cozy feeling of fulfillment. Or is that just my seat warmer?

Monday, June 20, 2011

A Date to Play

Ben and Matti playing together is so fun. Basically they try to hug slash bite slash grab each other constantly. It's kind of been like that since the beginning. Here they are doing their normal thing. We are pretending that Matti just wants to give out some kisses. We are all on board with that version of things. They are good friends. What's wrong with a little grab or a nibble between friends? Especially if you're nine months old.

This was our first of a string of summer playdates with our Super Baby Squad (as we fondly dubbed our Facebook group). Four of us started hanging out when the babies were really little, and then our crew expanded three times over when we started a Mommy and Me class. We have a great group and since we kind of dropped out of class for the summer (lots of mobile babies, a small space that seemed to be getting smaller) we started up a weekly get together on Thursdays.

Taking turns grabbing the same toy. Just to have it. Because the other kid had it. The baby equivalent of tweeting. Or online shopping. Maybe a combination.

It's actually kind of mezmerizing. Plus you have to watch with one eye anyway, in case your kid tries to pull an ear off of somebody.

Check out those eyelashes! Why do boys always get the great eyelashes? My sister and I complain of this often.

Meanwhile Ben is fixated on Jess's buttons. I swear we are having meaningful adult interaction while all this is going on. I won't lie and tell you we were discussing politics and current events, but there was food! I know, trust me, you wish you were there. Enchiladas and sour cream, guacamole and brownies... it was heaven. I should have photographed the food.

But I was pretty taken with the cute babies crawling everywhere.

Ben reeeeeally wants to crawl like the other kids. He is so close.

Elana, such a smiley, happy girl!
So here is where Cindy put us over into the Playdate Olympics. She brought scrapbooking papers and tools and inkpads to do hand/footprints for Father's Day!

Incredible foresight was not possible just months ago. We are evolving into the kind of moms we only once dreamed about being. The kind who can wrestle fat hands and feet with ink all over them in the name of tearjerking, priceless memories! It was super freaking cool to bring home frameable, giftable prints. So cool.
I did his feet, too, but haven't gotten a photo of that yet. They came out beautifully.

Yes, my mom friends are all kind of lovely. Makes a girl want to brush her teeth and get her hair cut once in awhile!

Cutie pie Rollin!
This is one of my favorite things about Ben. If he wants a nap, he will fall asleep in a tornado. I love that. The babies are just starting to really enjoy playing together, and thats great. But pretty much these dates are for the mommies. It makes me feel sane to listen to everyone else having the same worries, struggles and joys. I can't wait for the next one- beach day!