Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Merry

Posted by Beck

I had really good intentions of sending out Christmas cards this year...but that didn't happen.

So, here is a compilation of all of the possible Christmas card photo contenders this year. Consider this your virtual Christmas card.

What we've been up to:

JP completed his sixth year at the Bank. In his free time he works "on the farm," takes care of our growing menagerie of animals and is always working on some "new idea." A couple of weeks ago he harvested honey from the hive of bees we recently acquired. He continues to serve on the board of directors for our church.


LJ turned 3 at the end of November. He's a hoot and definitely keeps us entertained. He is really into rocket ships and playing pretend. The things he comes up with amaze us everyday. He will start preschool a couple of days a week in January.

Beck recently completed her 5th year at UOP where she continues to manage alumni communications and aid in event planning. This summer she was invited to become an adjunct faculty member for a for-profit university, but with a new baby and a preschooler in the house this pursuit may get back-burnered for awhile. She continues to volunteer for the United Way.

Little A is almost four months old and is proving to be a pretty mellow and snuggly baby. He is a little night owl though, which gives a chance for some quality time with him after LJ goes down for the night, but little time for much else. Ha ha. He's a big talker and loves to look up to his big brother already.

We received three pygmy goats from a friend this fall. They are a great addition and we love having them! (Please picture them with little Santa hats on their heads)

Chickens: The girls are doing great! The new crop of chicks JP bought in the summer are starting to lay eggs, so we expect to see an uptick in egg production in the next few months. Woo hoo.

In November we went to Disneyland to celebrate LJ's birthday. According to him the best parts were meeting Mickey and riding the roller coaster. Even now, a month later, when we go under an overpass or travel over a bridge he tells us to put our "hands up" like we're on a roller coaster. I love that kid.


That about does it! Wishing you a joyous holiday! 

We are so thankful for all of you and how much support and love you've given to us this year. Many blessings to YOU, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

The Last Thirteen Weeks

We have a running joke that in order to fire up our Internet we have to put the hamster on his wheel. It's so bad that JP and my dad head out one night a week to use the free wi-fi at Starbucks. I know, I know. It's definitely a "first world problem," but it certainly puts a crimp in our blogging plans. We have several stories coming, but here's a little recap of the last 13 weeks. JP is back at work now and I head back on Monday. We really did have a ton of fun being together as a family. What a great gift!

Here's a pictoral run down of the last 3 months:

 Baby A is born! August 29th

Hot Air Balloon Festival in Ripon.

Santa Cruz County Fair to watch cousin Natalie show her pig.

Quick trip to Monterey for dinner at El Torito (the best picture we could get of two tired boys.) Sad.
Feeding the ducks in Reno. LJ is sharing his crackers with this little girl

Engagement photo shoot and wedding planning fun for one of my best girls and oldest friends.

Having favorite friends move close enough to visit and feed horses together.

Doing a little grape stomp. (Not as fun as you'd think. The grapes were really cold and kind of icky.)

Harvest 2012 - not quite what we expected.

Friends visiting from San Diego for a long weekend = built in playmates for LJ. He still talks about them!

Lots of pumpkin fun from Apple Hill to Michael David Winery and everywhere in between.

Fun runs and 5Ks. (LJ was NOT a fan of the gorilla.)

Brother bonding

Many trips to Nonni and Papa's house in Lafayette and swimming practice.

Not nearly enough naps...for any of us.

Lots of work in the yard.

A semi-spontaneous trip to Disneyland for LJ's birthday. I think it blew both of their minds.

Celebrating the wedding of my girl Randi

Hosting Thanksgiving at our house

Celebrating the big 3!

Welcoming new friends to the vineyard

Growing WAY too fast


Family photo shoots and visits from the Colorado contigent of our crew.

Finishing the fanciest chicken coop in San Joaquin county and JP's turkey "processing" adventures.

Not to mention countless outings, a couple birthday parties and lots of organizing, closet purging, books read, hugs and kisses given and lots of laughter. I know these things don't end just because we're back to our Monday-Friday, 8 to 5 routines, but I constantly felt like we were racing the clock to squeeze in as much fun as possible. Mission accomplished!

Thanks for reading! Hopefully we'll be back again soon!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

A Rocket Ship Reboot...er Robot

Posted by Beck


For weeks LJ insisted on being a "rocket ship" for Halloween. He was quite adamant about this choice. Not an astronaut. A "rocket ship." I had it all planned out. We'd make cute coordinating theme costumes for all of us. It'd be great!

Fast forward a few weeks. I had all of the accessories to help make the rocket ship costume official, but I didn't actually undertake the project until the day we needed it. Pretty standard Becky move. I ran into a bit of an issue when I cut too large of holes in the diaper box we were using and had to call in JP as my handy helper. What resulted was something that looked a bit more like a robot than a rocket ship. Oops. Luckily LJ is a flexible kid and was totally on board with being a robot instead of a rocket ship. Phew! Costume crisis averted.


So, he became a robot. Most people got it, but a couple of other guesses were the Empire State Building and the Tin Man, so it wasn't completely obvious to the world. We were pretty proud of ourselves though. Some recycled diaper and wipes boxes, an oil funnel and a little Martha Stewart texture paint and Bam! Robot.

The businesses in our downtown area do a great trick or treat event the Saturday before Halloween. Since I'm not one for knocking on stranger's doors, we decided to make that our primary trick or treat destination for 2012. The first stop was JP's banking center.


Even though we practiced several times, LJ was pretty much a deer in the headlights when it came to the actual trick or treating.


 I wasn't really about him getting a ton of candy, so we only hit a few stores and then grabbed lunch where LJ surveyed his loot.


Little A was less than thrilled with the whole experience. Can you blame him? He doesn't have any teeth!


And, because it wouldn't be an event without a photo shoot, here are some pictures of the boys in their costumes.


And, blast from the past. Check out these classic Halloween gems from "back in the day." I think JP wins for cutest lion ever, don't you?

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Then There Were Two

Posted by Beck

Everyone told me that my heart would inexplicably grow to love a second baby the minute he arrived. And they were absolutely right about that. I had my concerns of course, but JP likes to remind me that before LJ was born I actually said that I hoped I would love him as much as I loved our cat, so I have been known to have put ridiculous limits on my heart's capabilities.

The moment A arrived I was simultaneously filled with an unspeakable joy and an unsettling terror. "A beautiful, healthy baby - hooray!" And, "how I am going to explain this to LJ." In only a moment he went from being my entire world to being a co-star. Still important, but now sharing the spotlight. I was ecstatic and terrified about what this meant for my family.

The first few days after coming home were hard on me. I knew I loved A as much as I loved LJ, even from the first moments. My heart had no problems with the love. It was learning how to balance my intense love for both of them that took a bit more time. I knew I loved them both like crazy, but how was I going to handle it when they both needed me so differently? I cried when I came home from the hospital because I knew things were forever changed. I desperately wanted to climb in bed and snuggle with LJ, but I also had a sleepy new baby to hold, nurse and protect. The love was strong, but struggle was instense in those first, hormone-filled days.

I can safely say now, two months out, that the balance issues are still there, but the emotional confusion has subsided. When A is crying and I sit down to rock him to sleep in his room, I have to remind myself that my sweet little big guy is in the other room watching cartoons and needs his mommy too. Having two wee ones is more rewarding and challenging than anything I could have fathomed. 

As an only child it was hard for me not to put certain feelings on LJ. Feelings like jealousy or resentment; sadness that he no longer has our undivided attention and love. JP, the oldest of three, put things in perspective for me. He told me that, for him, us not giving LJ a sibling would mean denying him an amazing gift. Having it put that way was a game changer for me. I stopped feeling guilty about my divided time and started viewing it as a new and better reality for LJ. He has less of me, but more of someone else who will stand by his side for a lifetime. A built-in best friend. And that is awesome.

LJ has truly risen to the occasion as a big brother. He has moments where he tells us it's time for Little A to go in his swing now and he looks like a little lost puppy when grandpa holds A for too long, but overall he has done amazingly well. He never acts out against his brother or shows any resentment toward him whatsoever. He greets him in the morning with a "Hi Au-tin, hi Au-tin!" He holds his hand when we're in the car. He rubs his head and gives him kisses. It makes my heart so happy to see. One day we were reading the book If You Give a Pig a Pancake and I said, "look at the little piggy, isn't he cute?" LJ replied, "Au-tin cute too." Heart. Melting.


As I sat here finishing up this blog post, I was interrupted by my "big" boy padding into the kitchen wearing his elmo pj pants, squinting in the light and requesting a glass of milk. He wasn't really awake, but I don't really think he was sleepwalking either. Rather than be annoyed that he's out of bed at 11pm, a mere two hours since he was settled there for the final time this even, I took this as one of those opportunities for "balance." A few stolen moments rocking my big boy in the chair with his sippy cup before carrying him back to bed for the night are a precious commodity. The little one is asleep, so there was no competition for my attention. The tables will turn in a couple of hours when I'm up in the dead of night with that one for a feeding and then he is allowed to be the center of my world for a while.

I'm still trying to figure it all out. Probably always will be. One thing I know for sure is that I love these boys with all my heart and feel pretty blessed to be their mom.

Moms (and dads) of more than one, any tips on maintaining the balance between siblings?