Activities for Kids, Halloween, Santa Cruz

At the pumpkin patch

Happy fall, friends. You could definitely say we’re falling in over here. My kiddos are still too young for scary movies and most other Halloween things, but picking out and carving pumpkins is finally fun! Last weekend we went up to Rodoni Farms .. [remember our first trip there with baby Jace? :**(( ..] and picked out our pumpkins. Jace took it very seriously and was on a mission to the find the biggest one possible. And Rodoni doesn’t disappoint. They’re located on a massive hill overlooking the ocean, with rows and rows of every kind of pumpkin imaginable, and size! They also have a fun corn maze, face painting and other kid-friendly obstacles.

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Me in this moment

Do you ever feel like you suck at life? No? Just me? Well that’s how I feel.  And right now, in this moment, all I want is to get better at it. To be more patient with my 3-year old. To be more supportive of my spouse. To be a better friend. To be a better daughter. To be kinder to myself. To work harder at my day job. But sometimes, I feel like I can’t give any more of my self. They said parenting was hard, but gosh, some days, I really have to reach deep. The first book I ever received about parenting said that having children would be the greatest gift from God.  That children would challenge you and make you question things. Make you stronger and build your character. Help you see the purest of hearts from the womb and test your love. That children would teach you patience and selflessness and humility like no other experience. And in this moment, I totally agree. I’m tired and definitely tried. By the end of the day, I feel dead. I fear I look very haggard. I really do. Alone time doesn’t kick in until 9:30 at night, once the kids are asleep, and if I haven’t passed out putting them to sleep, I usually spend the time eating a chocolate chip ice cream sandwich or putting away my laundry that’s been clean and sitting in piles in my small bedroom for 3 weeks. And even more, when Jace wipes his chocolate-smeared mouth on my clean shirt, or fights me to put on his pajamas, or tells me he hates me, or that he wants Daddy after I just made him cheesy scrambled eggs with avo, his favorite, I want to throw in the towel.  But gosh darn it, I won’t! Because you know what Cheryl? He’s human. Just like you.  This is God telling me to work harder. To be stronger. To woman up. To be the kind of person I want my son to grow up to be – calm and collected. And above all, a happy person, because life is good dang it! I’ll stay up later to clean if I need to, and put off my bikini wax another month so I can buy him a $40 Guardians of the Galaxy toy set. My self might be sort of unrecognizable in the moment, but dang it, that kid is a part of me and I freaking love him. And his pure heart gets me every time. Just like tonight, when he wanted all the neighbors and lookers driving by to look at his freshly carved pumpkin, all lit up in the dark on our front porch. He even invited people back to our house to see it after buying tealights at the local grocer. When he looks at us and says, “I have an idea”, I about want to cry in that moment. He’s so good, I just need to see it more. He truly is a gift.

Activities for Kids, Santa Cruz

Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk!

We found Jace’s new favorite place last week – the BOARDWALK! Tuesday night was Retro night, with old school prices for rides (only $1.50!). I couldn’t remember if there were enough rides for Jace’s size, but to my surprise there were a lot! And many we could accompany him on, like the log ride – which we rode twice. Such a blast!!!! We found Jace didn’t want to ride any rides by himself .. so we ended up searching for the ones we could do together. My favorite might have been the ferris wheel as I went a little crazy with the photos, haha. I also like my alone time with my little boy ;) Walker did pretty good, too. We splurged on corn dogs, sweet potato fries and fried oreos for me! As you can see, the weather was great. I see us getting season tickets next summer for sure, and might even take my parents next week over Labor Day. This place really gives you all the feels. The beach, the screams .. the smell of fried food. It’s just like a movie. Brings back lots of great memories and I can’t wait for Jace to make his own memories here with his friends.

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Aptos, Cher Joy, weekend

About today

So, about this day .. it was perfect. Borderline heavenly (queue some Russell Dickerson). There was so much happiness flowing through our veins this day we almost couldn’t stand it. It was a Saturday and the weather was gorgeous. The beach was glowing. And the whales jumping! After all the stress of moving and putting our house up for rent, and the long nights with a newborn, and the trials with a toddler .. we needed a day just like today. To remember that life is good, and we are together as a family. That things feel slow again; not yet easy, but slow. We packed a cooler for the day with some delicious snacks and a bottle of the American Summer Chandon (thanks to our Heather!) .. we put Tom Petty on the blue tooth and just beached out all day. Jace is officially obsessed with the beach. And how on point is his beach outfit? Including his new shades from Grandma and Papa. Humpback whales are migrating to Alaska right now and are all up and down our coastline eating anchovies, so all day we stared into the waters to see whales jumping up and their fins splashing. Whale watching is so awesome when it’s free! The smell of the ocean air, the warm sun .. it really doesn’t get better than this. At times I get these rushes of guilt, like I don’t deserve this expensive California life we’re living and the relaxing beach days, but then I remember that it all happened for a reason. We wouldn’t be here if things weren’t set in motion to bring us here. I love seeing Jace run up and down the beach, and Walker’s little chubby baby feet in the sand. So for now, I’m going to keep soaking in these summer beach days as we have them and not feel too guilty that this is where we live again. It’s real, I just need to enjoy it!

Activities for Kids, Jace, Walker

Jace’s Baby Walker

Jace has been cracking me up lately. And also melting my heart. At church last week, the ladies in Jace’s Sunday school class let him take home the baby he’d been playing with, which he had named “Baby Walker.” And ever since, it’s been his favorite little companion around the house. He’s quite the motherly type .. changing his diaper when I change Walker’s, he entertains him by playing with him, puts him in the boba, rocks him to sleeps, shhhhhs him, feeds him, bathes him … even BREASTFEEDS him. hahahahaha So funny. I had to remind him that boys don’t have milk in their boobs >D