Memorial Beach Day

We’re not even done with the weekend but I had to post a few videos of the beach day yesterday.  Our kids are having so much more fun at the beach lately, which in turn makes it that much more fun for us too.  Asher finally will play in the waves (ok, ‘in the waves’ is even being generous…he’ll touch his toes in the water at least)…it only took him 4 years to warm up to it (who’s kid is this?!).  But no matter, at least we were diligent πŸ˜‚.  Here’s yesterday (he decided no pants was the way to go):
What a great view! πŸ˜‰

The remainder of the weekend was no less fun – BBQ & backyard s’mores with friends, then water park at Lake Casitas to finish it off!

I love summer!  And it’s just the beginning! (More to come soon – this was a start of an old post!)

Nite Moves

There’s a possibility that I can be ambitious on the sign-ups and weak on the execution for some of our family activities…you know, if I’m being honest.  I just picture us having this fun, athletic family who tackles anything.  Which sometimes we totally are; and other times it’s actually a disaster of complaining and prodding and nothing how it was in my head, and we all end up mad and disappointed (but with pictures that likely make my memory of how awful it is fade fairly fast).  Again, just honest.

However, we are signed up as a family for a 5K in a few weeks with my parents, so I have been thinking that we should get out there and try it before it is a mess of complaining and general disaster conditions πŸ˜‚.  Last week was a good practice opportunity – an event in Santa Barbara that seemed family friendly… and close to home in the event of the world ending (ie. our kids’ likely portrayal of the torture we make them endure called ‘exercise’).  

In addition to family, I also recruited unsuspecting work buddies, friends, and the girls we live with, and promptly handed the kids off to all of them while I jumped into the 1k swim to start off the night, vowing to catch them on the 5k run to follow.  

I have to say, the swim went better than I expected in my dinosaur of a wetsuit – and I loved the boost of proud energy I got from high-fiving Selah as she ran down the hill as I ran up. (The run started while I was racing, so I tried to catch them on the uphill, but she was too fast!).  Asher and Daddy made it to the turn around before I caught them, and Dad reported that he did at least 3/4 of the whole run on his own!  And we all ran through the finish line together – one proud, tired, happy family.  

I haven’t raced in a long time…actually, just about 8 years probably since it was at least a year prior to Selah being born.  I can’t say there’s any one reason I haven’t, but I can tell you that this group exercise program (Jenny Schatzle Program) that I’m doing motivated me to just get out and do it, no matter how messy it looked (in my head or in reality) or what the outcome was.  Exercise is my sanctuary and sanity – and this time I got to enjoy it with my favorites – and be reminded of a time gone by when I enjoyed swimming and running races too. And – bonus – it went so well I’d do it again!  (I can’t say the same for Selah, but Jesse and Asher seem to be game, so she might come around yet!).  

Our Little Singer

Selah has been saying for weeks that she didn’t want to participate in her piano recital because last time was so scary.  This, of course, made my Mama heart sad that she’s clearly already growing up and growing out of her ‘performing’, for fear of people watching (or how she perceives herself – she kept saying when she watched it back that she doesn’t think she did well).  Jesse and I had done all we could to convince her, basically giving up, until yesterday she apparently told her piano teacher that she was now “in”.  And – the cutest part – she allegedly changed her mind because grandma was missing her “spring sing” next week, but would be able to make her recital!  (Note to Grandma – hope you’ve set aside June 3rd πŸ˜‰!)

So, in preparation, her piano teacher and her chose a song for her to sing.  Spoiler alert: if anyone is coming to the recital, I will reveal the song and video of her practicing!

She hasn’t been projecting enough, so her teacher asked her friend Madeline to sit and watch, hoping Selah would be louder.  She’s getting there – it’s really sweet to watch the progress – and I was able to video (sorry it’s shaky – I was also trying to watch that Asher didn’t fall off the trampoline that was open – without yelling at him and ruining the video!  Also, her teacher stops her for some direction, but I filmed the entirety).  Here goes:

I know it’s been a long time since posting, so I’ll try and update a bit more here for far-away family to capture our busy lives with kiddos!

And Other Things to be Thankful for

There are a lot of random things I take a few pictures at, then never post or don’t have a full thought about them.  But in the spirit of my online ‘scrap-booking’….we are also extremely thankful for:

Good friends and swim meets:

Mok, best dog in the world:Santa Barbara sunsets and bike rides along the beach:

Family to help with new backyard construction projects!  And new knees for Jesse to be able to do so:

Mok somehow got out of order, but could list him twice we are so thankful for him!

And just plain old family time together laughing – lots of times with this guy, but always together:

Sounds trite, but no other way to put it – we are very blessed (& when I don’t remember that, I come back here to upload! πŸ˜‰).  When I have little time for friends or groceries or cleaning…this is what I’m doing!  Life with our little family.

Sundays & Trucks

Today I took Asher on a Mommy & son “date” to the PEP Touch-A-Truck event at City College.  It had a ton of trucks – garbage trucks, police cars, fire trucks, sweeper trucks, construction equipment, a trolley, a postage truck, a delivery truck, a dump truck, a helicopter, along with bounce houses, Popsicles, and face painting….and I’m certain many others I’m forgetting.

Cute trolley driver, yes?! It was fun to have ‘just one’ and reminded me that it’s so important to get that 1-on-1 time with both our kids.  They thrive so much more when we’re intentional with them, and sometimes we just aren’t good at thinking of things to do, so this worked out great to have a specific activity.  

Hopefully the back of the police car is exclusive to this experience only!
It’s heavy Mama!
I had hoped we could get by the face painting without a request, but Spiderman it was…and I was too tired of climbing in vehicles and honking horns to resist.

Afterwards, we met up with Daddy and Selah who were at a schoolmate’s party.  They were having their own good time with a zip line, bocce ball, tree house, and hammocks!  Lucky boy got the best of both worlds!  I wish I would have caught more pictures of Selah, but she’s on the run with friends these days, and not much interest in having mom around documenting πŸ˜‰.  

Fun Sunday all around, and just wish we had one more day before entering reality again.  Until next weekend!  β€οΈ

Another “First”

This time…first swim meet!  (For Selah)

This was a very laid back meet that was just for our swim club, to introduce the kiddos to racing the different events.  It actually was held up at Westmont, so nice that Selah knew the pool well (we swim there after work many days!) and we were close to home for dad and his newly-operated-on knee. They also encouraged the kids to swim all the events, so our little swimmer agreed and entered the 25 free, 25 back, 25 breast, 25 fly, and 50 free!  

The first race was actually pretty comical.  It was a lot of these kids first time – at least the 6 & unders – so not only is Selah pretty far ahead of the rest of her heat, but the girl in her lane for the next heat jumps in right behind her by accident!  Here’s the video that only a mother (& maybe dad too!) can find entertaining:

I was so proud that Selah enjoyed herself, did her best, was proud of herself, listened to her coach, and tried everything.  All a momma could ask for!

It’s funny – I of course would love if Selah became a swimmer like I was – but it’s really not the ultimate goal of course.  My goal started to make her water safe.  We are around pools, beach, lake, and in water enough that I want peace of mind knowing my kids are good swimmers.  But seeing how much confidence it’s given her and how proud of herself she is when she accomplishes something is making me want it for her even more.  I learned some of life’s greatest lessons in the pool with my team, made some of the best friendships I have to this day, and just became so much of the person I am through swimming.  I just can’t help but hope she participates in something, no matter what it is, that can bring her that joy and character building.  This little ‘first swim meet’ was just a sweet first taste as a mom of getting to see my daughter grow.  Can’t wait for the next one – and neither can Selah!

Oh, she also really enjoyed that she got ribbons!  Two first place, two second, and one third – not too shabby for two heats of her age group!

 For those of you really wanting to see the event (warning – not entertaining unless you really love us!  In addition, my videography skills are sketchy at best, on a good day, so try actually watching her swim while video-ing and it’s pretty bad), here’s a video clip of the other three strokes (breastroke, butterfly, and backstroke):

Also, what swimmer is complete without the speedo tan lines?!?!  This just reminded me of my childhood right here with the t-back tan: 

Sweet day, sweet girl.  I can’t say enough how thankful I am to be her Mama.

Little Swimmer

Lots of swimming posts to come!  First up, last night’s big event.  Asher finally swam the length of the pool all by himself!!  This little guy has struggled a bit in enjoying swim lessons and he is really hard on himself, so we are so stoked for him to be so proud of himself and his accomplishment. 

 I think the little series of photos actually speaks volumes of his super-sized personality in his pint-sized body:

And Selah wasn’t left out!  She and her team received medals for swimming all of the strokes last night.  

My little Olympians!  πŸ˜‰

Truly, of course I hope that they love swimming as much as I did and get as much out of it…but my real intent is to have them water safe, which is a constant process even beyond the pool. The super fun by-product so far has been to see their confidence grow in their own individual ability.  The sense of accomplishment is so sweet to watch, and I could not be more proud of the little people they are becoming! ❀️

Sidewalk Chalk and Valentines

I feel just a teeny tiny bit guilty enjoying this beautiful summery weather in a winter of drought when we could use a huge rainstorm instead a a beach day.  But someone has got to do it, so it might as well be me. πŸ˜‰  

 (photo from yesterday on a quick hike up an open space near us before I grabbed the kids from school and headed to the beach for a sunset dinner with friends and waited for Jesse to get off work – Santa Barbara is not rough to enjoy).

Tonight when I got off work, Asher was napping so Selah and I christened the new driveway with sidewalk chalk.  We thought it’d be a great idea to lay on the warm concrete while the sun went down and take silly pictures of us and our artwork.   

   Saving the best for last, how lucky am I to be loved by her?!
  My budding photographer wanted to take one of me beside her work as well:  
  Not the most flattering, but if I look hard enough, my mind can hear the wild parrots squawking, smell the faint smell of BBQ, and feel the warmth of the ground as the air turns cool when the sun sneaks behind the mountains.  It’s one of those evenings I’m reminded why I don’t count the cost of living here because the reward is priceless.  

After I pulled together a makeshift homemade cheese pizza and spinach salad dinner (Jesse was gone tonight so I didn’t get fancy, and just did something to satisfy the natives), I switched to Valentine duty in preparation for school parties tomorrow.  About 25 for each of them means 50 of those bad boys between the two kids.  I think it turned out relatively cute for a simple project:

Thank goodness for image search on Google which gave me the idea.  I have a love/hate relationship with kid crafts, but likely not for reasons you’d expect.  I actually love crafts and art projects, but hate that I am usually pulling things together at the last minute…and wish my kids were a little more into it so that I could do it with them rather than try to entertain them while I finish.  I’m sure these things change with age, and for now my little tootsie pop cards will be it for tomorrow’s school festivities! ❀️

Just BeachyΒ 

I love when an unexpected warm weekend pops up in winter between all those cold, windy ones!  That day was today and we took advantage of our clear, fairly warm, winter beach day.

   We were able to meet Selah’s first nanny there with her 7 month old daughter, visiting from Kansas.  Liz will always hold a special place in our heart.  Some day we’ll venture to Kansas to visit her farm, but for today we were pretty content running around in the sand, collecting just the slightest sunburn from the winter sun low in the sky.
A few pics of the day I snapped with my little beauty.  Love this place we are blessed to live in, and love the little sweethearts I get to do life more than more.  If only I could bottle up her joy to save for a rainy day…


Morning HikeΒ 

This morning I decided, perhaps against my better judgement I predicted, to take the kids hiking with me at a nearby short trail. Jesse wanted to work on the deck, and I thought it would be nice to grab a little exercise…and to my immense surprise, it was beyond successful!  

  Those are chocolate teeth in case you were wondering!  Yes, I bribe them with ‘energy pills’, which I learned from my dear skilled nanny who first took care of Selah, Liz…who had the infinite wisdom of watching her mom raise eleven brothers & sisters!  It worked like a charm for motivation and I would have never believed you prior to this morning, but I’m not kidding – there was not a SINGLE complaint and we did about 1.5 miles round trip!  Lucky for me, Asher still fits semi-decent in the Ergo, so I convinced him to ‘ride’ mommy as a horsey up (to limit the time frame to at least a half day!), then he walked down all by himself.
 I’m completely not kidding when I say that this is literally my PERFECT morning.  (Well, I guess ‘perfect’ would have been Daddy joining us, but hey, a complaint-free kid hike is about as close to perfect as it gets).  I can only hope it just gets better from here and I have some new favorite hiking buddies on my hands.  If my kids love exercise and the outdoors, we may count this parenting thing a success (ok, I’ll add kindness, generosity, and gratefulness to the list…but that’s asking an awful lot! Ha! πŸ˜‰).  

Selah is well on her way.  She even had to wait for us a bit!  Can you find her here:

   Not a bad morning view – we even counted 7 boats (in English & Spanish!), 4 platforms, and too many palm trees.  
On our way down we found a great ‘echo’ spot and went in search of the secret garden on the way out… 

   Yep, it’s official, my favorite winter morning is with these two!
  I think we’re almost ready to backpack with grandpa!  (Ok, one successful hike might not constitute a whole trip, but let me bask in the dream a bit!)