Sunday, November 30, 2014

Luke's Birthday

If I only had this picture to remember Luke's birthday I'd be happy.  I just love it and love him.
Celebrating this little boy being two was loads of fun for all of us.  We celebrated with family a few days before, since Grandpa and Grandma were heading out of town. 
Luke kept walking around saying, "My birthday, my party. My birthday, my party."  He simply loved that we were celebrating him.  He also didn't mind the traditional 'kiss sandwich' either.
Our celebration was simple, but not lacking in good times or fun.  I decided a long time ago on a ball theme.  
Luke is happiest when he's kicking, throwing or dribbling a ball.  And for a guy who is just barely two, he's got a pretty decent throwing arm, drop kicks a ball, and can drop a racquetball and hit it with a racket.  He loves to 'shoop' balls into his basketball hoop.  It seems that balls and sports are definitely a part of his future, because at this point they are very, very much a part of our present.  So a ball theme, warranted a ball cake.

That cake was 100% worth the hand cramping and hands that looked a little like the Hulk for a while.  It's such a relief when a cake turns out exactly how I planned.  Success!

Luke took this whole candle blowing/birthday singing thing very seriously.  He actually loves the birthday song and had been singing it to himself all day. 
His big smiles returned it no time, and he was pure happiness once we cut into that cake. 

 Our families.  Oh, they are such good gift givers. 
Luke has a bit of a lawnmower obsession, so that's what we got him. 

Months ago he turned his shopping cart into a lawn mower.  More recently he decided that one of his ride on cars was a riding lawnmower, and his popper toy was an edger.  Lawn work is serious business around here. 
It was a great night of celebration.  Having so much family close by is a gift in itself.  I love that we get to share so many of these sweet moments with them.
 Four days later, on the 25th, Luke woke up to pancakes with sprinkles and a family who made a huge deal that it was his actual birthday.  I thought there might be some jealousy, but Noah was truly happy that Luke was turning two.  
After breakfast the boys and I headed downtown to the railroad museum. 
We filled our morning with trains, headed home for a nap, and then finished off the afternoon with a trip to the library.  Slowing down time is the only thing that could have made the day better.  It all went too fast for my liking, and far too soon I was kissing my birthday boy goodnight.

Eight Years

It sure seems, in a good way, that we've been married longer than eight years.  To celebrate we spent a night in San Francisco.  It was my first night away from the boys EVER, and we all did great.  The boys were bouncing with excitement.  They headed off to McDonald's for lunch as soon as we dropped them off.  The fun was just starting for ALL of us.  

We had a hotel reservation in Union Square, but no definite plans for the evening or next morning.  Just a few hours before leaving we suddenly had tickets to the Standford/Utah game and were meeting up with the Armstrongs.  Perfect!  
The game was mostly boring, with an exciting double overtime ending.  But I loved being with friends we hardly ever see.  Actually, what I really loved was the three hour, uninterrupted drive to Palo Alto.  I forget how much we are lovingly interrupted by those two boys when driving.  To eliminate those darling distractions for a while really made form some quality, thoughtful, much needed conversation.  It was bliss!

After the game we drove to San Francisco for a very late dinner at Hillstone, a sentimental favorite from our dating and newlywed years. That place never disappoints.

The next morning we slept in, laid around, smiled that we weren't being awaken by a joyful "Good Morning Mom!" at 6:30 (or earlier), and just relaxed.  We finally got moving as morning began to melt away and decided to just explore.  Our walk took us through Union Station, across China Town, and into North Beach.  We found a little Italian cafe for our extremely late breakfast and then just kept walking until reaching the Coit Tower. 

And then we just turned around and went back.  But it was great to walk, see the city, and be together.  Year eight has been a bit rocky and emotional at times, largely due to circumstances beyond our control.  We have stayed the course, stayed committed and grown closer.  Love truly does grow over time, and it feels so good.  I can't wait to see what it feels like in another eight years.

Oh, and those boys of ours...they didn't miss us a bit.  Grandma and Grandpa made it a night to remember. 

Friday, November 14, 2014

Apple Hill, Round 1

On Monday the boys and I headed up to Apple Hill with Grandma Shauna and Grandma Pebley.
We didn't have much of an agenda for the morning, but when the discussion turned to apple cider donuts I  knew we'd have to first stop at Rainbow Orchards.  If you're going to get a donut it should be a piping hot, fresh out of the fryer, covered in sugar one for sure.

Noah remembered the big cider press they have from last year, so we peeked into the window to watch it work.  Luke spent most of his time with the pumpkins and apples.  And thank goodness, because he let me catch this cute picture which I think is one of my all time favorites.
Now if only he could convince his big brother that LOOKING at the camera is sometimes o.k.

How guilty does Luke look in this picture?  
 There was so much to see and touch which suited his immense curiosity just fine.

We made just two other stops: one at High Hill and the other at Abel's Apple Acres.  
Just being there with my boys and two of my favorite ladies was enough.  I didn't care too much about how much we saw or where we went.  As long as we were in great company and could find some sweet apple treats along the way, it was a perfect day.

It's tradition to take pictures at Abel's tree.  Measuring height when standing on the slope of a hill doesn't seem terribly accurate to me, but it's making for a reasonably cute annual picture.

And we have a picture of Noah in this school bus every year that he's gone.

After a slice of my most favorite buttermilk apple pie it was time to head for home.  In about a week we'll be making the drive again with my family.  I can't wait for another round of apple goodness and more memories made!

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Things haven't changed much...

My kids are in shorts and t-shirts.  We've had a few 'teaser' days with rain and the nights are definitely cooler, but it sure isn't feeling like the seasons have changed that much.  I was looking back at photos and found a bunch that I took on our hot summer days.

We love the pool at the gym.  It's heated, but even better it has beach entry, which makes it really approachable for little ones.  They can go as deep as they're comfortable with.  Oh, and there's fun ways to stay wet besides swimming, which Luke particularly loves.

So this summer, we made quite a few afternoon visits to the gym.

Once Noah got more comfortable swimming (THANK YOU MADDY!) he spent a lot of time jumping in the pool.

I love that he's just pure joy in this picture:
We also took advantage of the water features that are so close by.  We've got lots of options, but this park is probably our favorite.
 Noah was so proud that he climbed this 'mountain' by himself.

And, on the days when I didn't feel like packing up towels and toys and extra clothes and everything else, we stayed home and attached the slide to our little pool.  No complaints about that one either.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014


 I'm not sure we'll ever top this year's Halloween cuteness:

I have to sneak a picture in of my girl Kate right about now.  Oh, that smile!
The boys both loved their costumes (I did too!) and just lit up with excitement every time we put them on. 

And put them on we did.  I think we had five Halloween celebrations to attend, so these costumes definitely got put to good use.  Noah the Baker and Luke the Chocolate Chip Cookie won best costume at the Tanner's Halloween party. 

Noah was really excited to wear his costume at Joy School.  
The kids did a costume parade, sang the moms some super cute Halloween songs, and then served us cookies they had made before we arrived. I love, LOVE Joy School.

Halloween night was a little rainy, but that didn't keep us from having a lot of fun.  Our friends, family, and a few neighbors came over for dinner.  I loved seeing our house alive with friendship, excitement, and happiness. 
The kids loved trick or treating. Luke kept saying, "More can-nee! More can-nee!" I can't wait to see Kate walking around with my boys next year.
I wasn't much of a Halloween girl before we had kids, but these little boys have me already thinking about next year.  I love the traditions we're establishing and the memories we make on a day like Halloween.