Pike’s Peak

Day 3 in Colorado definitely did not dissapoint!  Kelly got us tickets for the cog railway to the top of Pike’s Peak – the mountain overlooking Colorado Springs (& the peak we watched fireworks over earlier this year!  Although, much colder at that time of year!).  It could not have been a more perfect day – again, beautiful weather and great company made for the best of times.  And Hannah’s nieces and Aunt joined in, which was great fun for the kids!

Views on the way up were amazing – and anyone who knows Asher well will recognize his obsession with binoculars!  He kept on the lookout for wildlife and we did end seeing quite a few marmots, and spotted some long horn sheep in the distance.At the top we enjoyed the fresh homemade donuts and hot chocolate – except Selah (Miss Picky eater) who opted for Cheetos.  As we walked around, Selah even noticed she got winded easily, so it was a fun introduction to a bit of altitude for their first time.  

Another fun day for all.  We’re so thankful for the hospitality of these friends who we count as family.  

Castlewood Canyon Hike

It’s been a hectic few weeks, but I’m missing out on some great pictures & milestones so I needed to update for family!  Before school started (this week), I took the kids on a last minute trip to Colorado.  It was a spur of the moment thing – Jesse is recovering from knee surgery still so he isn’t up for travel, but I found incredibly cheap tickets online from LAX to Denver (less than $300 total for all of us!!!), so I just decided to jump on it.  Plus, it’s hard to pass up visiting the Jacobsen clan – they are a few of our favorite people in the entire world – in addition to about the easiest people for kids to stay with as well since both Selah and Asher love all of them to pieces!

Anyways, I took so many pictures I’ll have to split it up per each day there to fit it all in a reasonable post.  First day was hiking at Castlewoid Canyon after getting off the plane.  Asher loved it, Selah had to be coerced into having fun, and I love anything that combines outdoors, exercise, and good company!  

My little hippie boy stripped down with Hannah to go skinny dipping as soon as he realized there was water while playing ‘trolls’ under the bridge:

Not a bad setting, right?!
Luckily Mr. Nels (Hannah’s dad) must have had special training in making hiking fun for kids, so he took Selah’s stinky attitude as a challenge and transformed it into an adventure, thank goodness!

It was a great time exploring – perfect day, perfect activity, and perfect people!  We only were missing Ms. Kelly (Hannah’s mom) and of course, Daddy (who we would have loved to be with this trip, but is recovering so he can do the next one!).

Fiesta 2016

Confession: we aren’t very good at fiesta since having kids.  Since we spend most of our time avoiding crowds and germs, it goes against the norm.  However, my fatal flaw this year was accidentally driving by the fair at Mercado Del Norte on our way to swimming – so the kids knew the rides were there and wore us down with continual asking, which we really couldn’t come up with a great plausible excuse not to go.  

Our best plan was to go right when it opened (read:  not scorching hot) and during the children’s parade (read: less people), and all in all it turned out great and the kids had a blast.  It was also fun that daddy’s knee is recovering and so he could join us! In fact, picture credits go all to dad on this post!

Also captured a short video montage of the day – not super exciting but family might enjoy it:

Viva la fiesta!  

Family beach night

This was a week or so ago – a few days after Jesse’s surgery.  

For extended family who might not have realized – since we’ve kind of been hiding in a hole of sorts for months and months – Jesse tore his ACL again in February, along with his PCL (I think that’s the one), and his meniscus got stuck between his knee in an ‘aftershock’ injury (basically from walking around with the torn ACL for a few months).  So, to prolong a long story, he’s been waiting on a surgery date, unable to walk, since April/May or so.  And he finally had surgery late July.  So, if you haven’t heard from us, it’s because it’s been a somewhat tough last couple of months and we are really, really glad to see a light at the end after a successful surgery!

Back to the task at hand…a few days after surgery, Jesse wanted to get out of the house (it was super hot the two-three days following the surgery, and he was stuck in an immobilizer from his hip to below the knee)…so we went and picked up Blenders for dinner and parked at the beach.  He sat in the car, but at least got some fresh ocean air (heals better than the pain killers, I can tell you with confidence after watching his face!)…and the kids and I played in the sand right between the car and the water.

It’s times like these I’m acutely aware of how thankful I am for so many parts of our lives.  To name a few:

* Our kiddos (duh).  But here’s something I’m really thankful for often, but don’t mention enough – that they are best friends and built-in playmates.  Nope, they don’t always get along…and nope, they don’t always want to do the same activities.  But on the whole, these two have eachother’s  backs and are the best of pals.  

* Where we live.  Dang, Santa Barbara is expensive and I complain a lot about that, often to the point of not appreciating what we have.  But it really is the best spot in the world (especially to enjoy evenings like this)- not too hot, not too cold, beach, mountains, a little bit city, a little bit country, and very few bugs (weird, but I kid you not – every other place I’ve been that has nice evenings like this also has bug bites!  And I for some reason am tasty and get eaten alive!  Not in SB though!).  It’s kind of perfect for us, and can’t believe we’re so blessed that it’s home!
* Health.  We have two healthy kiddos (hands down our number one blessing).  I am blessed to be able-bodied enough to take care of the house, kids, and Jesse while he recovers.  It’s made me appreciate that there’s two of us when he is healthy and that what he has is “fixable”, and that’s a lot to be thankful for that not everyone can count on.

I could go on, but you get the picture.  It’s not a’first’ or anything new or exciting, but I took a bunch of pictures with the intent of sharing because it was one of those moments I would give anything to pause and relive over and over to memorize every sound, taste, scent, and sight.  If time would freeze a moment, I think one of these ‘normal’ nights would be my choice above anything extraordinary – they are my favorite in all the land.

 (Here Ash was playing in our “super duper long, tall shadows, Mommy”!):

Here’s just a quick clip of some of the live pictures converted to video:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2WThTBHT9Fg

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:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L582-w0n4o8

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): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tFG1WkemHpI

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!  ūüėČ

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! ‚̧ԳŹ

Backpack Troopers

Finally!  Uploaded backpacking pictures of our trip with Grandpa (my Dad), Tera (my cousin), Alex (her husband), Selah (my tough 6 year old), and Cael (her super impressive 6 year old cousin Рborn just a day before her).  Sey and Cael could literally be twins Рthey definitely carry some Adams genes between the two of them!

First, I cannot express how incredibly proud I am of these kids. ¬†Selah hikes with me – but all in all, pretty rarely. ¬†So, to strap on a pack (which she never has carried), new boots (which she has never worn), new pants (if you knew my kid, you’d know that pants are pretty much torture in our household), and walk in, around, and out was pretty impressive. ¬†Some of the stats: ¬†4 days of walking, about 9 miles (3.5 in, about 2 exploring, and 3.5 out!), and 1700′ down to the river, and 1700′ back out to the trailhead to around 7500 feet elevation (or so – Dad can correct me there, since I can’t recall…it was the Lewis Camp Trailhead in case anyone is looking it up).

And not only impressive hiking/backpacking, but they got along so well. ¬†Great family time, great scenery, and incredibly memories. ¬†We are so lucky we have a grandpa who plans all of this stuff for us! ¬†I couldn’t do this on my own, that’s for sure. ¬†(Maybe someday – Tera inspired me to think maybe I could get it together!).

I am trying a new layout, so hopefully family can download the pictures they want by clicking on the images. ¬†If not, please email me and I’ll either send you the files you want, or I can repost with the full size images.

A few highlights in no particular order:

  1. ¬†Our camp near the bridge turned out to be the best – the kids played for hours in the river…well, until on the second day they spotted a water snake, and Selah was pretty much toast after that.

2.  A swimming hole upstream provided a refreshing break after realizing the fishing was not going to be great.  Cannonballs off rocks, and dolphin rides upstream provided a great break before getting back on the trail to explore.

3. ¬†In our search for some pools that Dad (Grandpa) and I recalled…I ran into a pretty good sized rattlesnake. ¬†That made Selah a believer in the boots I had previously told her would protect her in the event that a snake made a surprise debut. ¬†She immediately took my advice to the extreme and wore the boots, kicking every single log and rock to make sure she scared those things away!

4. ¬†Cards. ¬†Those kids loved the Uno and Go Fish cards I brought along. ¬†Couldn’t help but remind me of my own grandpa who taught Tera and I to love card games. ¬†It was so sweet to see our littles enjoy it as much as we used to.

5. ¬†Dirt! ¬†Selah is traditionally a pretty clean kid. Always has been since she was a baby and didn’t like food on her hands. ¬†But – I think this trip confirmed she can get dirty with the best of them! ¬†I should have video’d when she was sitting in the dirt by herself playing. ¬†It was great.

6. ¬†Cousins. ¬†These kiddos got along better than I could have ever expected. ¬†I can’t even recall a fight between them – they were content to play and play…which was amazing for four straight days. ¬†It was great. ¬†I should have taken a picture of them in Cael’s tent before bed – they even slept in the tent together, telling ‘scary’ stories to one another before bed (their story telling skills left something to be desired in the scary department, but in the ‘cute’ department, they were spot on!).

I think we’ll try to make this annual.¬†I can’t think of another way I’d rather spend time – with family, outside, getting exercise. ¬†The only thing missing this year was Jesse joining in…but as soon as that knee heals, I’m sure he’ll be ready. ¬†And Asher will be a believer too I’m sure – he just isn’t quite ready on those little 3 year old legs of his. ¬†Give him 2 years and he’ll be ready! ¬†I can’t wait to go back, and I think my baby girl is on the same page! ¬†(Grandpa might need a year to recover, but we sure appreciate him putting up with us all!)

Kindergarten Grad

I couldn’t be more proud of our sweet girl and how she did this year.  Her school and teacher exceeded all expectations and so did she.  She’s learned to read, write stories, create beautiful art, and math skills I can’t believe.  We are excited for summer, but ready for first grade!  Here are some pictures of the day and the little graduation ceremony:

Her teacher and aide, along with her two besties: And thanks to Grandma, who came all the way here just for the ceremony, and took us to Blenders after!  I can’t believe she escaped my picture taking and I missed snapping one of her and the graduate!  


I wanted to post about Selah’s kindergarten graduation – with some pictures of her last day.  But got sidetracked by this group of a bazillion pictures I took.  I feel like I could make a flip book and you’d get a feel for the personalities of these two kids of ours.  

So, for that reason, here goes…complete inundation of photos.  All the last day of school; all displaying the many faces of my babies.  Ha!

I’m pretty sure the ones of Asher figuring out his shaka are the best.  Especially once he accomplishes it in one hand while flipping us the bird in his other! ūüėā

4th of July Celebrations

I’m going to work backwards from here, going back to key events since I left off blogging a few months back, in hopes of filling in holes for my ‘scrapbook’ of memories for the kids, along with faraway family.

First up – 4th of July weekend, block party & parade! 

I love our neighbors and neighborhood.  There are tons of kids and families, a good mix of a slightly older generation (which I love for our kiddos), and it’s what I would consider safe.  For the holiday, one of my motivated neighbors took it upon herself to organize a big shindig at the park between the two circles of houses.  This was no ordinary block party either – it was complete with a taco truck, fresh horchata, bounce house, DJ, limbo, and bike parade.  So fun for the kids – and us!  

Good times in Montecito.  If my kiddos only knew how blessed they are!   (We are working on conversations about privilege…but sometimes the concepts come slow & I try a number of ways to get the point across before one just ‘sticks’).  

Next up, 4th of July parade!  

Jesse’s knee has been really bugging him lately (seems logical, 4 months without walking would do it to anyone – and he literally NEVER complains, so you know it’s actually hurting now!) – so I took the kids solo to the downtown Montecito celebration to represent Cold Spring School in the parade and friendly competition after between Selah’s school and Montecito Union.  

They were the sweetest, all decked out.  We made our way to our spot then waited a good hour riding around with friends and climbing trees before the parade started. I walked with a few other moms with a banner and the kids zoomed through the crowd in the street.  I even lost Asher in the surrounding neighborhood at the end of it – innocent mistake for his first ride and my horror of not being able to run as fast he rides that bike of his!  I took it as a good opportunity to remind him how to tell a fireman his mommy’s name and find the man with the microphone! ūüėÜ

And of course what 4th celebration is complete without terribly unhealthy, mediocre tasting sweets with artificial food dye and flavor?!?   Isn’t that the American way?! 

The kids had a great time, as did I – and although it was exhausting, it was 100% worth it to see those moments of sibling love and pure joy amidst my own personal moments of panic when losing one of them in the crowd (Selah is quite the social butterfly and since it was the school rivalry – the Montecito Cup – she was off enjoying friends while I tried to keep tabs on Asher and hoped she could find me when necessary!).

We also miraculously made it to fireworks with Daddy so he could share in the day, and set up our own cooling pool in the backyard to combat the heat.  Perfect day to celebrate America!