Category Archives: Family

{Travel} San Clemente, California (through the lens of the iPhone)

We recently got home from an epic beach vacation with some of our great friends, the Black family and also our friend Grace.  Zane and Rachel have a ten month old baby girl, Elle Jay (LJ), and so when we first started planning a trip together, we knew we wanted something close and easy. Also, Zane really wanted to be somewhere he could surf….which led us to look in the Orange Country area of California. After spending weeks pouring over housing options on vrbo.com, we settled on the San Clemente area, and found our house! We knew we wanted to rent a house together because 1) cheaper than getting separate hotel rooms, 2) wanted the full kitchen so that we could cook most of our meals 3) plenty of room for the kids to play and move around.

We found the perfect house:

I was so in LOVE with the kitchen. Huge gas range with cast iron griddle (which we used a ton). Stocked with cast iron and Le Creuset pans. Who puts Le Creuset in a vacation rental house?!? So amazing. The apron sink was huge and beautiful.
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I also was in love with the butcher block island, and the Sub Zero fridge and freezer (that is the freezer on the left – complete with two freezer drawers below the large door).
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Awesome modern/California cool furnishings throughout the house
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Art nook (which we used as surfboard storage), and epic nap spot in the master bedroom
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The backyard was lovely and perfect for soaking up some sun during the few but precious moments where all the kids were napping.
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We got there a day before the Blacks, and after stocking up at Costco and unloading at the house, we headed straight for the beach.
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The San Clemente Pier was about four blocks from our house, which was pretty amazing to just walk down the hill to all this:                             photo IMG_6535_zps067cf9c1.jpg  photo IMG_6536_zpsef1613f9.jpg We were starving and decided that the restaurant on the Pier was as good a place as any for dinner! It was great (fresh halibut!), but even better was the view, and sitting on the patio while the sun beat down on us. Ahhhhh sunshine….        photo IMG_6077_zps6fa29ce0.jpg  photo 6812eace-3fd0-44c2-a4ec-97f071ad0bb7_zpsc4f4eccd.jpg photo IMG_6538_zpsbe402f37.jpg  photo IMG_6078_zpsd177dc0e.jpg

Sunday morning we walked two blocks to the main street (Avenida Del Mar) to grab some breakfast at Cafe Mimosa, before heading to the airport to pick up the Blacks. A traditional French Bistro, this restaurant is what breakfast dreams are made of. Here’s a shot of the (gourmet) steel cut oats I ordered for the kids:
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Fun times with the Black family!
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We also got to spend some time with my dear friend Lisa, who LIVES in San Clemente. I made sure to let her know over and over how lucky she is to live there :). We met at Baby Beach one afternoon, which was, of course, a great little beach for kids. No waves because it’s within the Dana Point Harbor.
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Grace arrived Thursday night, to join us for our last three nights of the trip. We love having Auntie Gracie with us! (Hollis considers Grace one of her BFFs).
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My little boy…too precious
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Love these girls
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Friday morning we got to meet up with Lisa one last time, and she shared a gem of a place with us for brunch. The Ramos House – my standard for breakfast out has forever been raised. Everything about the place was enchanting – herbs growing out front for use in the kitchen. Every table was unique and charming. Mason jars for glasses.  And the food, the food.
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Our last night on the beach. The perfect end to a fun, relaxing, and simple vacation with great people. When can I go back?
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Up next: the rest of the trip in (real) pictures (non-iPhone).

My Boy

This little guy
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is so amazing. Oh boy, he makes me laugh. And smile. Many times throughout the day I am overcome with feeling so thankful to have him.
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He is my happy little boy. Easy going. Content. Plays independently….
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…and then on the flip side he looooves to snuggle. Loves to be interacted with. Loves to communicate.
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He is so silly. He keeps me laughing all day long! He has THE BEST facial expressions. This “cheesy smile” is a favorite right now:
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He is 15.5 months right now. Finally started walking, yesterday! He is sooo excited and proud of it, too! It is so fun to watch. Nothing cuter than watching a baby learn take their first steps. He’s already cruising and excited about his new mode of transportation.
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He has an infinite amount of nicknames. Some favorites right now: bubs, bubbers, boo boo, brudder bear, bubbies, bubbles….the list grows each day.
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I love you, my sweet boy!

Away

Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos
Not posting for a few days because I am too busy enjoying this view! And celebrating a 60th birthday. And enjoying family. And staying in a cozy “cabin” on the river. And eating yummy food (Whole30 style, of course). More to come….

Hollis’ Birthday (Part II)

What a full weekend we had! Friday was Hollis’ birthday, which included her party with friends and our own little family celebration. Saturday was a combined Easter/birthday celebration with the grandparents. And then Sunday was of course, Easter. And, we had beautiful, warm and sunny weather for all of it, which was the biggest blessing!

Saturday we just enjoyed the afternoon outside soaking up the sunshine, having a little Easter egg hunt, and a birthday presents + dessert celebration.

Bubs and his eggs
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On the hunt
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Treats! Served exactly what we had at her party at the park the day before. Cook/prep once, serve twice. I’ll take it!
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After this photo she wouldn’t let me take any more of her blowing out the candles. And we were not allowed to sing Happy Birthday 🙂
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Four generations!
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While Hollis was opening her presents on the deck, Parks was happily sitting in the grass and playing with the eggs. Didn’t move from here for 20+ minutes:
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Then, the tricycle came out. Gramme and Papa Baker got her “Blue Bomber” and I kid you not – as soon as Parks laid eyes on that thing he was sprint crawling across the grass. He couldn’t get his hands on it fast enough. He walked along pushing it for several minutes, literally squealing with joy the whole time. Wish I had a video to share! It was absolutely hilarious.
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Hollis eventually got a turn on her birthday present 🙂
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We actually managed to get one family photo from the weekend, impressive!
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There is nothing more special than to see my sweet girl be loved on by so many people. She is blessed with two sets of the most incredible grandparents (also great-grandparents!). Many aunts and uncles and cousins. Tons of friends. On her birthday (on Friday) she received two Happy Birthday song videos, two Happy Birthday song voicemails (all of which were watched/listened to multiple times before bed 🙂 ) and four Happy Birthday song phone calls. Not to mention the gifts, cards, well wishes on Facebook, and more. She is so loved, and she felt every bit of it on those two days. Thank you to all the friends and family that made her day so special! Age three is off to a great start!

Hollis Turns Three (+ Whole30 Day 16}

Well, my sweet pea is three. And what a wonderful day we had together! Nothing like starting the morning out with a birthday present (fresh bedhead and all). (It was this bathtub toy that didn’t work very well. I got it off Hautelook so I need to see if it’s returnable or not. At least I didn’t pay full price!)
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Some paleo pumpkin pancakes topped with syrup, whipped cream, and mini chocolate chips was the perfect birthday breakfast for our girl. And let’s be honest, all she really cared about were the “chwocwate chwips”.
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When the weather forecast called for 60+ degree day, I knew a little party at the park with her friends was the perfect way for her to spend her afternoon! Lots of playing, yelling, and mostly enjoying the sunshine.
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Little brother and his baton (that he kept a death grip on for the first half hour we were there)
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A little picnic with snacks and treats! Including these little beauties: Food Babe’s Almond Butter Brownies layered with fresh whipped cream and strawberries. It was slightly torturous putting these together!
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Hollis LOVED her party at the park. It combined her favorite things: friends, playing outside, playing on “huge toys”, treats, her little brother, and the sunshine!
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Back home for the next round of the party….Daddy had her “big” present ready and waiting. She had to follow the string all around the house and yard.
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…which led her to her pink Strider bike! For whatever reason, she started whining and saying “Nooooo!” as soon as she saw it (?!?). She literally ran away from it and hid her head in my legs. Um…not the reaction we were going for? Within a few minutes she had settled down and put her helmet on. And was touching the bike! So that was progress. We’ll see how long it takes to make some progress on learning how to actually ride the bike.
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We had some of her favorites for dinner: hamburgers (homemade patties, no buns) and fries (sweet potato fries fried in tallow). Really, anything that she can dip in ketchup is a favorite for her! Then it was blowing out some candles and then she finally let us sing her “happy birthday”. Also, right before bedtime she said “I love my birthday, mommy. And I love all the presents you got me.” It really was the perfect day!

Three Things I Love About Hollis
1) I love her imagination. She is so into creative play right now. She is constantly busy in her kitchen, making food, cooking, and trying to feed me and little brother. She loves to play library – she wants me to be “the lady” and check her books out for her. She also loves playing with her babies, and she is the best mommy to them. She’ll turn all the lights off and say “shhh, my baby is sleeping!” (Where did she get that from?!?) 😉 She is always feeding, rocking, and cuddling her baby and telling me what her baby needs. I just love watching her imagination grow and blossom!
2) I love watching her as a big sister. She is sooo incredibly affectionate and caring with Parks. She is always looking out for him, and telling me what he needs. If he is fussy or upset she gives me ideas on what I could do to make him happy. She (sometimes) loves to share with him. She loves to make him laugh and giggle. And she loves to be excited for him when he learns new things. I just love watching the two of them together. And I love the feeling of responsibility and pride that you can see growing in her as a big sister!
3) I love how sweet and affectionate she is. Her main love language is definitely physical touch, and she is constantly hugging, snuggling, and wanting to be in close physical proximity to me. She needs her little love tank filled up throughout the day. If she’s starting to lose it or get really whiny or difficult, I know that a quick snuggle session helps her feel connected and fills her back up, and gets her back on track. She loves to brush and play with me hair, she loves to let me hug and kiss her (right now she’s into “wiping” the kisses off, but then quickly asks for more 🙂 ).
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(this was a pose she wanted to do):
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Happy Birthday to my little Sweet Pea, my Punkin, my Tootie, my Precious Girl….my love and my heart.