A Quick Visit

Grandma D flew in for a quick weekend trip. It was so great to have the extra help and an extra set of hands.

It's such a luxury to go to Target by myself, or go for a run at 1:00 in the afternoon. Dirty diaper? Grandma is more than willing. Want to shower before 8:00 PM? No worries, Grandma will take the little man for a walk. Marcus "needs" some new clothes? Here's an entirely new wardrobe (and a few items for Mommy, too). Craving sushi? So is grandma. And she picks up the tab!
We already miss Grandma so much!
The visits from Grandma are always fun, and always pass much too quickly.

Only three more weeks till Grandma comes back. Three. More. Weeks.


Fair Fun

Let me begin by saying I had my "good" camera all packed and (what I thought to be) ready to go. We were headed to the fair! I just knew there were going to be some amazing shots I was going to capture with my Nikon.

We get inside the fair gates and I immediately grab my "good" camera. I go to click annnnnd, nothing. The battery was at home, in the charger, where I'd placed it earlier in the day so it would be fully charged for the fair. Awesome.

Because my best friend, Amy, and I grew up two hours from away from each other every summer our parents would ship us off to the other's for a week. I firmly believe I got the better end of the deal when I stayed with Amy. Amy lived on a farm and raised sheep, hogs, and cattle. I lived in town - so boring.

I didn't mind waking up with the sun to walk sheep, or washing hogs, or filling bucket after bucket with field corn to feed the calves. In fact, I loved it so much that I would offer to do Amy's sister's chores for them (I bet they were as happy for my week long stint as I was).

After all the work with the animals they would be corralled and taken to the fair. Each year Amy and her sisters always did well, especially with their sheep. One of the girls was always winning Grand Champion, Reserve Champion, Market Lambs, and so on. I was always so happy for Amy and her sisters when I heard how well they each did, and even more tickled I could help out each year.

With all those memories of fair I knew we had to take Marcus to a fair this summer. When we learned admission to the Orange County Fair was only $3 on the weekends, and Marcus was free, we were out the door.
Just seconds after stepping onto the fair grounds the intoxicating smell of any and everything being grilled mixed with the smell of batter being deep fried filled the air.
The bottom three photos were our splurges: Scott had a bacon wrapped hot dog, I had a turkey leg, and we all split a shaved ice.
As with every fair, there is always so much to see and do.
300 TONS of sand made up this sculpture. Insane.
We were thisclose to playing a few carnival games, but instead enjoyed all the unnecessary and gaudy prizes from afar.
What do people do with this stuff?
Marcus enjoyed an area that had an assortment of toys perfect for his age.
The "foam pit" was genius. When it gets cooler, and we empty the baby pool, I think I might need to get a bunch of pool noodles and cut them up to create our own foam pit.
My favorite part of the day was spent in the animal barns. Naturally.
The "farmer's gold" saying had me chuckling. Growing up I remember hearing farmers say the smell of manure did't stink, as that was the smell of money!
Daddy pointing out the animals to Marcus.
This wasn't Marcus' first experience with livestock, but he still wasn't totally sure about the large animals.
Upper left: The hog didn't seem to mind Marucs' little foot in the hog's snout.
Lower left: Marcus wanted nothing to do with posing with the calf.
Upper right: Getting a few nibbles from a sheep.
Lower left: Checking out the 3,000 pound bull. 
After seeing all the other animals we made one last stop in the goat barn.
The goat found Marcus' shirt to be tasty. Marcus found the goat to be pretty funny.
After a few hours of fun it was time to head back home.
We can go ahead and chalk the OC Fair up as a giant success!
Until next year's fair...


Happy Marcus Monday!

Post bath time, pre bedtime routine...

Flipping though a good book in the buff.
Happy Monday!


Cara Box Reveal!

When I discovered July's Cara Box theme was "nautical" I was thrilled. I'm slightly obsessed with all things nautical. Blue and white stripes, red and white stripes, anchors and nautical ropes? Yes please, and thank you. I just love it all.

This month I was paired up with two of the sweetest ladies:
Elsie (to whom I sent a box) - my goodness, this adorable lady is always on the go. Let me tell you, between nannying for two littles, participating at the OC Fair, and spending quality time with her main man, I don't know how does does it all! And, after emailing all month we discovered we live so close to each other. It's such a small world. :)
Karly - (who sent my box) - is a newlywed who has so many of the same interests as me; she cooks and post recipes (yay!), she is an avid reader, and from her letter in my Cara Box, she is hoping to get back into running (double yay!). And, she's obviously the greatest aunt, ever. And, she's also a California resident!

Karly put such thought and effort into her Cara Box. I may or may not have gotten a bit misty eyed when I read her note and saw the contents in my box.
 Everything was perfect!
The contents:

  • Top left - A message in a bottle! Cutest.Idea.Ever. 
  • Top right - Nautical bangles. Love 'em! I've worn them a few times already (I got the box two days ago)!
  • Right center - S'mores in a jar. Karly shared a sweet family tradition with me. Karly's family makes s'mores every time they go to the beach. What a fabulous idea! We'll be following along in this tradition. 
  • Bottom left - Sand and water toys for Marcus. Karly was so sweet and made sure to incorporate some nautical fun for my little man.
  • Bottom center - Ocean air fragrance. Oh my gosh, this stuff smells so good. When we can't make it to the beach we can at least have the crisp, clean smell in our house.
What an awesome month, awesome theme, and awesome ladies. 
Be sure to head over to Wifessionals if you want to join the fun and to see what other Cara Boxes have been gifted.  

Cara Box


Throw Back Thursday - A Grand Lake Time

Almost exactly four years ago, to this day, Scott and I went on a trip that we still find ourselves talking about.

Vacations are often fun but rarely are vacations epic. Four years ago a group of six friends went to Grand Lake, in Oklahoma, and had a time that can only be described as... epic.
It's not often a group of people comes together and just clicks the way we clicked.
The group spent three fabulous, fun-filled, memory making days on a boat. They basked in the sun and enjoyed every second spent together.
The guys all tried their hands (or should I say legs and feet?) at skiing.
They were all really good.
Please notice none of us ladies even attempted...
We spent a little time at one of the "party coves." The cove was fun, but we didn't stay long. Maybe, just maybe we were already on the brink of being "too old" for that scene. 
That bottom picture is one of my all time favorite photos - ever.
The extended weekend was riddled with only the sounds of laugher and joy.

And, as usual, Mother Nature did not disappoint the group with her beautiful presence.
All six of us.
I miss those days.
Erika, Lisa, Jeff, and Ryan... One day we will all get together to do this again. Some summer in the (hopefully not too far off) future we will enjoy another legendary trip.

Linking up again with Amy for another TBT!


The Package Tour

We've been home from Iowa/Kansas for almost three weeks and I'm finally done recapping all the fun we had. Whew!

Usually after a stint of being away from home for so long it is nice to lay low for a few days - get caught up on laundry, adjust to the two hour time change, get Marcus back on schedule. Not me though. Oh no. I had much bigger and better plans once we returned to LA...

The day after we got home a some of my girl friends and I had big plans.
Left to right: Nicole, yours truly, Susanne, Krista
We were off to see....
NEW KIDS ON THE BLOCK!! Squeeeeeeeeee!!!!

Growing up I was IN LOVE with them (especially Joey). My very first cassette tape (holy ancient) was NKOTB, I had a NKOTB Barbie, owned a VHS of their concerts (and shamelessly danced and sang along to that VHS in our living room), and had an assortment of gaudy NKOTB accessories that I would proudly wear to school. 
My excitement was through the roof... Which was right about where our seats were. But, I didn't care. I was in the SAME room (albeit a HUGE room) with Joey McIntyre. Swoon. 

Boyz II Men opened up, and holy geez, I had forgotten how many awesome songs they put out. I couldn't help but belt out the lyrics with every.single.song. They were awesome.
98 Degrees was part of that whole "boy band" craze when I was in high school and I wasn't really into them then... And, needless to say, I'm still not into them now. I would have been happy if Boyz II Men would have continued playing instead of 98 Degrees. Whomp whomp. 
Let's be honest, Nick Lachey was the only hot thing happening during the 98 Degrees set.
Right before NKOTB came on stage I turned to one of my girl friends and said, "I won't be one of those girls screaming..."

Then New Kids On the Block came on and I'm pretty sure I went a little crazy. I was TOTALLY that girl screaming her head off. And it. was. awesome. 

I sang along with every single old song, and fell in love with their new stuff (I want their new CD, seriously). There were a few songs that brought tears to my eyes, literally. I just could not believe I was actually at their concert, singing along. WITH THEM! 

Near the end of the concert we were treated to a little surprise.
Photo 1 Source Photo 2 Source
Though these are not my photos this was the night of our concert (we were just much, much farther away)!!
Joey brought his adorable (and carbon copy) up on stage to sing along. How freakin' adorable is THAT?! 

The pictures I took are all from my iPhone, and from about three rows from the very top of the Sprint Center. Needless to say, my pictures are less than stellar, but I'm sharing anyway. I tried to take my "good" camera in, but it was confiscated and held hostage by the event staff while I enjoyed the concert. Whatev. 
I think I said about 50 times throughout the night, "I really wish I had my good camera!"
I didn't want the night to end. It was too much fun. 
My lifelong dream of seeing one of my favorite groups had finally come true. On to bigger and better dreams: the next time NKOTB is in town I'm hoping for VIP tickets!! :) 


16 Months Old!

Woah buddy, 16 months old?! I ask this every month, but how is the possible?

Two weeks ago Marcus had his well-baby visit and everything checked out great. Our doctor confirmed that Marcus, is in fact, a big kid. If Marcus continues to grow at this rate he has the potential to be around 6' 2"ish.
Official stats:
Height: 33 1/4"
Weight: 28 pounds - he's like carrying a small tank around
Teeth: 17 - the doctor had no concerns with his extra incisor.
Words: A handful: "momma", "dada", "oh no", "no, no, no" and occasionally "buh-bye".
Clothes - 2T, shoes - 5

At the appointment I voiced concern that Marcus wasn't saying many words. Our doctor wasn't worried. My brother was almost 2 before he really started talking, and delayed speech is apparently very hereditary. The doctor also noted that Marcus is VERY busy (like I didn't know this), and that sometimes kids who are so focused on mobility take a little longer before they become verbal. At the next appointment we will reevaluate and see if we need to visit a speech pathologist.

Lately Marcus has been:
  • Climbing on ev-ry-thing!
  • Legitimately trying to eat his food with silverware.
  • We no longer walk. We run
  • Screaming. Yikes. We are going to have to work on our "inside" voices. 
  • Showing off blowing bubbles.
  • Attempting to jump - though Marcus' toes never leave the ground. It's kind of hilarious.
  • Dancing. It is the cutest to watch the little man bounce around in his attempt to "dance." 
  • Plugging his ears. Marcus has discovered his sense of hearing, and loves to plug his ears.
  • Engaging in conversation... Though we have NO clue what the heck he's saying, he seems to really try and engage in conversation. If only we could understand the little man!
  • Opening and closing doors - repeatedly. Oh my gosh, I think the kid would do this all day if I let him.
  • Testing Scott's and my patience. A lot. Marcus will do something he is not supposed to (i.e. stand on the couches), and we will ask/tell him to sit. He is such a defiant little bugger, and will purposely look at us and laugh as he stands up on the couch. What a turd!! 
We keep things classy around here.


Happy Marcus Monday!

A quick recap of our Kansas City adventures!
1. Lots of bubbles and water fun at Grandma and Grandpa's. 2. Bath tub fun with cousin Clark. 3. Pushing became a new "favorite" thing to do; good thing Clark was such a cooperative passenger. 4. So much time spent outside playing with Grandpa. 5. A trip to Manhattan, Kansas to see Daddy's school, Kansas State University. 6. Visiting Mommy's former place of employment in Shawnee - Splash Cove was so much fun! 7. Pontooning. 8. Tractor rides at Deanna Rose. 9. Corralled the cousins at Deanna Rose for a snapshot of them all.
After all the fun we had between both sets of grandparents I wonder if Scott will give us the go-ahead to spend a month in the Midwest every summer?

Happy Monday!


On the Pontoon

Being out on Scott's parent's pontoon solidifies the idea that we do, in fact, need a boat of some sort.

Marcus helping Grandpa.
Cruisin' with Daddy.
 Marcus enjoyed every second spent on Grandma and Grandpa's pontoon (as did Marcus' mommy and daddy).
We could have spent countless hours on the boat. My little water bug certainly would not have minded.

After Marcus was snuggled up in his crib for the night we headed back out on the lake to enjoy the remainder of the evening.
I had almost forgotten the breathtaking hues that paint the skies and lakes in the Midwest. Beautiful doesn't do a Kansas sunset justice.


A Children's Farmstead

Growing up I always wished we lived on a farm (I know, I'm from Iowa and didn't live on a farm *gasp*!). That doesn't mean I didn't love everything I learned and did while visiting my friends who were lucky enough to live on farms.

As Marcus grows up I want him to have that same appreciation. I want Marcus to know the difference between a tractor and a combine. It'd be great if he knew 'cows' refers only to the female bovine beauties. I want Marcus to understand there is a difference between field corn and sweet corn. We will likely never live on a farm, but I want Marcus to have as many farm experiences as possible.

Insert amazing trip to Deanna Rose Children's Farmstead in Kansas with all of Marcus' cousins!

As we approached the entry of the farm I felt like a little kid at Christmas. I knew I was going to love the place as much (if not more) than the kids.
When I lived in Kansas City I'd never visited Deanna Rose (I'm kicking myself for skipping over this gem), but obviously this will be a place we frequent when we are in town.
While I couldn't get Marcus to pay much attention to the animals there were a few things that he seemed naturally drawn to.
Upper left: Something that makes noise? Yep, that's a winner.
Lower left: A goat I can possibly lie on? Yep, we'll try that, too.
Right: A big piece of equipment that has potential to carry me from point A to point B? Sign me up!
Feeding the ducks was one of the few things that really captivated Marcus. (Side note: I cannot handle birds. Birds give me the hee bee gee bees, and being so close was not my idea of awesome.)
We spotted a butterfly garden and quickly went in to take a peak. By this time Marcus was ready for lunch and a nap. When I didn't spot any butterflies I took advantage of a photo op and kept it moving.
Marcus looks like he wants to launch himself out of that stroller, good thing we had him strapped in.
I could have roamed the grounds of Deanna Rose all day long. There is SO MUCH to see and do there. We didn't experience half of what was there.
Before leaving (my idea of) heaven on earth we snapped some photos of our little entourage.
It's not often we are all together in one place.  It is even more rare the boys will all sit still long enough for pictures.
From left to right:
Nicholas, Marcus, Clark, Ethan
Getting smiles from them all at the same time is like pulling teeth.
I'm already dreaming of our next trip to the farmstead...


Date Night in the City of Fountains

Date nights are pretty few and far between for Scott and me. In the last 16 months I can count on one hand how many 'dates' we have been on.

It's not that we don't have great people who are willing to help us out. We have so many friends who have offered to watch Marcus while Scott and I enjoy some adult time.
I struggle with this.

It's not that our friends aren't capable, or we don't trust them. We do. I know we have some of the greatest people supporting us, especially with our families so far away.
Our friends are not the issue. It's Marcus.
That sounds bad doesn't it? What I'm trying to say is I feel guilty leaving our friends to watch Marcus in the evenings - when he is the most challenging. No one should have to endure the pains that evenings tend to bring.

With that said, leaving Marcus with family is no problem.
Why is it so much easier to leave the kiddo with our folks?

During our time in KC we recruited Grandma and Grandpa to watch Marcus while Scott and I had a real, grown up date.

We started at one of my all-time favorite places in the city - The Country Club Plaza.
Dinner at McCormick & Schmicks? Don't mind if I do.
I do find it ironic we flew 1500 miles inland to have seafood.
No McCormick & Schmicks dinner is complete without THE chocolate bag.
Seriously SO GOOD.
After dinner we enjoyed the Plaza and numerous fountains that are found there.
Hence the name, "City of Fountains."
The Plaza trip wasn't complete without a stop at the infamous JC Nichols Fountain.
I absolutely adore this fountain. We had several wedding photos taken at this location and the fountain conjures up some pretty spectacular memories.
After, we simply drove around the city, soaking up all that has changed since we've been gone...
The Kauffman Center for the Preforming Arts.
What a majestical building. I hope the next time we are in town we can attend a concert.
 ...And we appreciated all that has remained the same.
Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception.
One of my favorite churches.
Our date wasn't glamorous, or fancy, or wild, but it was perfect. Spending time alone, digging up old memories in familiar places while creating new memories was exactly what we needed.

Only six more months until our next date!