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Monday, April 25, 2011

Easter 2011

Before we had Skylar Easter really wasn't a holiday we thought too much about.  We just saw family on Easter Sunday, ate, and that was it, but now that we have Skylar, Easter felt like a month long holiday.  

It started off with having professional Spring photos taken of Skylar.  Our Stroller Strides group had a professional photographer come in after one of our classes and for a great price took pictures of each kid.  I was nervous since there were several kids, I knew we wouldn't get much time with the photographer and that Skylar may just put her stoneface on and we wouldn't get any good photos of her, but it was the exact opposite.  She was the perfect subject and we got 10 great shots in just a matter for minutes.



Jake and I really dropped the ball on Christmas with taking Skylar to see Santa.  Poor thing had to take a picture with the Southwest Airlines Santa who looked to be a 22 year old Arabic guy.  So I really wanted to make up for it when I took her to see the Easter Bunny.  I searched online to find a Easter Bunny since we are new to the area and found a mall only a few miles away.  I had been to this mall once before and wasn't too impressed with it, but I figured how bad can the Easter Bunny be.  When we got there the set up wasn't to bad and I thought the Bunny looked alright.  So when it was Skylar's turn I sat her on the Easter Bunny's lap and jumped up and down trying to make her smile for the camera.  Four quick camera shots and $40.00 later this is what we got.  I was pretty disappointed with the turn out.  No smile from Skylar, the picture looks to be very far away, pretty blurry and has a corny border around the photo, so put us down as 0-2 with holiday photos.


A few weeks ago while we were in Riverside attending a family gathering I discovered my new obsession.  One of the desserts there was Whoopie Pies and I was hooked from the first bite.  I ran out and purchased a Whoopie Pie pan and decided I would bake them for Easter.  So four hours later I baked about 50 Whoopie Pies for both our neighborhood Easter Egg Hunt and our Easter Sunday Dinner with the Family.



Our neighborhood held there Annual Easter Egg Hunt and Potluck on Saturday afternoon and since we are the newbies to the neighborhood we decided to attend and hopefully get a chance to meet most of our neighbors.  Jake and I are pretty prompt to things, but since we didn't know anyone we didn't want to be the first people there.  Luckily Jake looked out the window and saw families already heading up to the park, so we decided to be there right on time.  Well, it started at 4:00 pm and I swear we arrived at 4:02 pm and the kids were already running around searching for eggs and the adults looked to be in deep conversation.  Skylar really had no chance in the egg hunt, she would of been ran over for sure by all the big kids so she missed out on the egg hunt, but she did get some leftover eggs she found on the ground after the hunt ended, which made her happy.  We met a lot of our neighbors who were all really nice and Skylar mingled with two twin girls who were only a few months older than she.  It was a good time and we look forward to the next neighborhood event which we decided we will be 5 minutes early too.


Finally after all these different events and build up Easter Sunday had finally arrived.  The weather had been beautiful the day before, but just our luck, it turned pretty chilly and overcast.  A few months before Skylar was even born her Aunt Erin purchased the cutest dress in the world for her to wear on Easter so I was super excited it fit her perfectly and she just looked so cute in it.


My mom mentioned she wanted to put together a Easter basket for Skylar, which didn't disappoint.  She had it embroidered with Skylar's name so she could use it as her permanent Easter egg hunt basket.  It was filled with stuffed animals, books, two swimsuits and a cute beach towel also embroidered with her name.  I didn't remember, but she said that swimsuits were always something Matthew and I received in our Easter baskets when we were kids, so I thought it was really cute she did the same for Skylar.




It was a pretty quiet Easter for my family, which was actually nice for a change.  The food and company were great and just seeing Skylar walking around looking so cute and happy really made my holiday.  Next Easter is going to be even better when she will be running all over the place particapting in Easter egg hunts and getting so excited opening each eggs to see what treats are inside.



Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Big Sur - 2011

Jessee and I have been talking about doing a "brothers camping trip" for years...and finally had our first annual trip last weekend! Nicole said it was okay to go as long as I wrote about it in the blog. So here it goes...

I had never camped in Big Sur and just wanted to spend some quality time with my older brother and get away of life's constant headaches. Although one landslide to the north and another landslide to the south made it a little more burdensome to get in, it made it much less populated with other people and much more enjoyable. My cell phone stopped working about 50 miles from our campsite which made me feel both disconnected and liberated simultaneously!


Jessee had arrived about 30 minutes before me and was already getting situated in our campsite next to a small grove of Redwood trees where two creeks converged and masked all sounds of the beach road we just exited on. We were both happy to see each other and wasted no time catching up and heading out to explore. Even though we had both been up since 4:00 am or earlier we were anxious to get into the explorations that awaited. Limekiln State Park is on the southern end of Big Sur and we first attempted to hike over a large cliff after the trail ended like typical brothers egging each other to go further and neither knowing when to say enough. It took a couple near disasters to accept that we were no match for the rugged terrain and head back to camp defeated with a quick stop at the beach to relax a little. We cracked a couple beers and watched a whale spouting about two-hundred yards off shore. She was probably enjoying the perfect weather just like we were. We took a really brief swim just to refresh before heading back to camp. After a great BBQ chicken dinner we got rested for the next day.


We attempted to explore all of Big Sur. We started by hiking a few miles up a huge incline hill for a breathtaking view on the coastline. The trail was more like an old overgrown trail and a couple guys willing to imagine where it went. Over the hill was a lush grove that pictures could not do justice and I know both Jessee and I were blown away as our constant banter stopped for about 30 minutes as we just took everything in!



We grabbed lunch down by the ocean. We walked through an old man-made hole in the cliff and settled next to a cave made by years of the waves pounding it. Beside a seal coming to see what the Ernest brothers were up to, we were once again separated from most of the human world.


The afternoon was still open so it was time for our long hike. We went up to Andrew Molera State Park and got started. After forging a small river about waist high we took the beach route. We made quick work of the first few miles and cut off to Spring trail which ended at a red sand beach... We'd never seen red sand like that before.


We moved on to the forest and overgrown terrain that few travel and we guessed no one had traveled this year yet. Beside some water snakes and garder snakes startling us, we hiked at a moderate pace, just enjoying the company and beauty that nature was letting us look into.



That night we cooked the most amazing t-bone steaks and topped it off with what every camp should have... No not whiskey (which we also had of course).... SMORES!!

I was going to leave out this final part, but it was a memorable part of the trip, plus writing everything down is what allows us to revisit these great memories. I didn't mention that Saturday we noticed Jessee's rear tire going flat and had no choice but to put in fix-a-flat since his lugs needed a lock that was no where to be found. This made our exit interesting as I followed him over the mountain exiting Big Sur. Unfortunately even when we got back into cell service range we couldnt find any open shops within a couple hundred miles, so Jessee was going to cross his fingers and head for Chico (plus we read a review that someone left fix-a-flat in for a month). I was about 30 minutes in the opposite direction when I got a call from Cara saying that Jessee had made it, not a month, but about five miles. He then locked his keys in the car with it running on the side of a deserted road with a blow out!!! We had a couple laughs as I called a tow truck. Jessee broke a piece of fence off and jimmied in the car after about 40 minutes just before the tow arrived. One shop stayed open until 1 pm and we told him to wait for one more car...please.


It was a great trip with a slightly comical ending. I loved Big Sur, getting away from work and reality for a bit, but the best part was making time for me and my brother to reconnect.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Stepping Out

Last night was a milestone for Skylar, she took her first legit steps. Jake was luring her with his iPhone and she went after it. She definitely did a face plant at the end, but it didn't seem to faze her. We are really hoping that she will be walking at her first birthday party.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Birch Aquarium - La Jolla

Well it was another fabulous weekend in San Diego! We could not of asked for better weather once the weekend hit, so when we woke up Saturday morning we decided we needed to go out and enjoy it.  After having waffles for breakfast (Skylar's favorite) Jake and I decided to take Skylar to Birch Aquarium in La Jolla.   Jake had never been before and I had gone once for a school assignment for my geography class back in college.  The early birds we are, we arrived right as it was opening, which was a good thing because it got crowded pretty quick. 


When entering Jake started looking for a map, which we quickly realized you didn’t need because isn’t very big.  Skylar seemed to enjoy looking at all the aquariums, but was easily distracted with all the kids running around.  I think she enjoyed watching all the kids more than the fish. 





We headed to the hugely advertised Shark Tank expecting to see Jaws swimming around but were disappointed to just find a couple tiger sharks in a small tank.  The Shark photo booth was definitely the highlight of any of the sharks we saw.


You can't beat the view that the aquarium has.  It sits up on the cliffs of La Jolla looking directly out to the Pacific.  Skylar really loved playing in the fake coral.  She was hoarding all the starfish from the other kids who came up and wanted to play with them.



After the aquarium we decided to take a quick stroll around La Jolla Cove before heading home.  Skylar napped while Jake and I admired the ocean which we both do miss now that we are living in the suburbs.  Luckily before we left Skylar woke up and was able to look at all the sea lions at the Children's Pool.  It was a great family outing for the three of us and we look forward to more of them as the weather just gets better.


Monday, April 4, 2011

First Pool Experience

When we moved into our new place one of the great things about the community is the pool area.  So when the temperature was over 80 last week I decided Skylar and I would enjoy the weather and go swimming. After our workout in the morning we went to Target and picked up swim diapers and a raft.  I lathered Skylar up in sunblock and packed our beach bag with towels and snacks and we headed up to the pool…but of course, nothing happened as I hoped it would.
Before entering the water


Once we arrival I noticed that Skylar had already peed in her swim diaper and had a huge wet spot on her swimsuit, so I figure it was time to hit the water.  I placed Skylar in her raft in the pool and she immediately began to scream and cry.  She hated the raft and didn't seem to be a fan of the pool.  There was a little boy, probably Skylar’s age who was also in the pool in the same raft as she who was having the time of his life, while Skylar didn't enjoy one second of it.

I decided I didn’t want to make everyone else’s time at the pool unbearable by having to listen to a screaming baby so I took Skylar out of the pool sat her on the lounge chair where she put her stone face on and didn’t perk up again until I gave her some snacks.  After she cheered up I let her cruise around the lounge chairs.  Finally in a happy mood she decides to take a big poop in her swim diaper.  Thank goodness I brought an extra swim diaper, but in my rush to get to the pool I forgot wipes.  So needless to say, we had to head home after only being there less than an hour and the pool experience I was hoping for didn’t turn out like I was picturing.  Luckily summer is just beginning and we will get another shot at it.

Before poop