Friday, July 31, 2015

Family Vacation in Sunriver, Oregon

Sunriver, Oregon is about 15 miles south of Bend.  My mom heard about the Resort area from a friend at her work who has gone there year after year for their family vacations.  She mentioned something to me about it and after some research, we decided we had to go and booked a big family vacation there.  Because of the popularity of the place (it doesn't feel crowded even when it is) it's best to book as far out as possible if you'd like to go.  We rented a house and had to reserve it last October.

I have always thought Oregon was a beautiful state, but oh my goodness... this area surpassed my expectations.  Big, beautiful trees, scenic landscape with mountains, rolling hills with golden tall grass and flowers, and beautiful rivers & lakes.  This part of Oregon is called the High Desert, but it had far more water then our drought stricken Northern California area.

Sunriver in particular is amazing.  They have 35 miles of paved, mostly flat bike trails that are well mapped out and take you everywhere, horse stables, rivers with rafting, paddle boarding, and canoeing.  You can fish, run, bike, swim, and relax all in one place.  The house we stayed in was spacious and livable.  It worked perfectly with the 5 kids and 8 adults in our group (my parents, sisters, brother-in-laws, and niece & nephews).  It backed up to the trails for easy access and was a quick 5 minute bike ride to the lodge and pool and an 8-10 minute bike ride to the Village, which is filled with things to do (coffee shops, grocery store, train rides for the kids, boutiques, and bike & outdoor rentals).  The house backed up to one of the 4 golf courses and had sweeping views of the mountains... it was beautiful.  You can't go wrong with any of the homes or rentals in this place... everywhere you look is beautiful!

We spent a lot of our time outside.  The kids were pooped at the end of everyday because they were going 100 miles an hour running, flying kites, swimming at The Cove (their brand new pool area, which also has a water slide), riding bikes, playing games, etc.  They also had so much fun in the Village riding the train.  Tim and I rode bikes and brought the Burley and the kids took turns riding in that.  My nephew, Ryan, and Andie had the best time riding around to play at the park then riding ponies at the stables on the last day.  The wonderful thing about Sunriver is that if you have a family... kids are welcome everywhere.  They even have a play area for kids in the Sunriver Brewing Company (which has good food).  There really is something for everyone to do - even if you just like to relax on the patio with a book and enjoy the scenery.

My parents are extremely generous and rented the home for all of us to stay in and made a huge costco trip.  We made priceless memories that I will never forget.  It was wonderful to watch everyone interact, especially the kids, and the last night I sat on the patio and watched our kids run, play and enjoy it all.  These are the times I dreamed of when I imagined having babies... and this trip was incredible.  I feel unbelievably blessed and grateful to have the opportunity to travel to a beautiful place with the people I love.  Thanks mom & dad!

((caution: picture overload ahead))

 The infinity edge pool at the Cove.

 We visited The High Desert Museum with the kids and they all enjoyed it!
 At Worthy Brewing Company in Bend - great place!
Nolan enjoying the grass in his toes from his jump-a-roo!

 Our backyard!

My family.  What a wonderful week!

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Dear Nolan... You're 7 Months Old!

Mr. Squishy...

You have the most beautiful 7 month old baby blue eyes I have ever seen.  They are the color of the ocean and when you flash your sweet, squishy eyed smile at me, I feel all sorts of flutters in my heart.  You have won us over, each month you are gaining more personality, and you are so much fun!  This month has been so much fun to see you change and grow - you're developing quite a sense of humor and hearing you giggle (which you do often) makes me so unbelievably happy.

You are very mellow, happy, and easy to please.  You smile so easily, even at strangers, and everyone loves talking to you when we take you out in public.  You're just a content little guy, and unless you are hungry or tired, you do very well at going with the flow.  You love to play peek-a-boo and even when you are startled you start laughing.  I also love letting you see yourself in the mirror because you always start smiling at yourself. :)  You must know how cute you are, too!  You smile and giggle when daddy holds you high in the air, we think you may be a thrill baby.

You celebrated your very first 4th of July.  We spent the afternoon and evening at your cousin's house (Danelle & Joel) and you watched the fireworks with us.  Most of the day you were asleep on your pops or striking up conversation with your great grandma Nancy - it was really fun to see.

You are rolling everywhere and even starting to propel yourself forward.  I wouldn't say you are quite scooting or army crawling, but you're getting very close and when you see something you want, you always figure out a way to get to it.  You also are starting to master the ability to sit up all by yourself.  In the last couple weeks I have been able to sit you up and leave you there for minutes at a time and when you're all done, you're getting much more graceful at leaning forward and moving onto your belly.

You love watching your sister.  You will glue your eyes to her and take in everything she is doing.  You really seem to love other kids and it's easy to see that you are anxious to get up and start moving with them.  I know you'll be on the move faster then id like you to be, so I am relishing in this time of being able to hold you and snuggle you anytime I want to.  You are SO snuggly, by the way... you love to lay on us, cuddle with us, and sleep on us.  And we love it so much!

Anything you touch goes right into your mouth.  You are really good at being able to put your paci back in when it falls out.  You are very strong and you go absolutely nuts when we put you into a jump-a-roo.  You will sit in there bouncing up and down for 30 minutes before you get tired.  You love your blankets, and you seem to love any toys that you can get your hands on.  You also really are soothed by your paci, especially in the car and we found a type that stays in better - which has been a little bit of a relief!

You are eating very well.  You like pretty much anything, except peas, but you will eat them if they are mixed in with something else.  You are eating about 4 ounces of baby food 2-3 times a day, and still nursing like a champ.  You love your milk and still wake up once or twice a night to get your fill. You have started sleeping for a little bit of longer stretches this month, sometimes you will go 5-6 hours, other times you are up every 3.

We took our very first road trip this month to Sunriver, Oregon with Gramz, Pops, and the family and had the best time.  You did very well in the car (much better than we expected) for the 7.5 hour drive.  You had so much fun watching all of the commotion and going for rides in the bike burley and even putting your toes in the pool (it was a little cold to put you all the way in).  You spent a lot of time bonding with everyone and were such a trooper!  We had so much fun and I know it's the first of many trips our family will be taking together in the future.  We are so blessed!

You are wearing 12 month pajamas now!!  It made me so sad to clear out all of the 9 month sizes, but you are growing so well.  You still fit into the 6-12 month clothes and some of your 9 month onesies, but you are getting very long.  You are wearing size 3 diapers still.  You are talking, screaming, and babbling to us - and you love to study the world around you and take it all in.  You are very curious and will stare at something for a while if you are learning about it!

You have such an adorable personality.  We have so many nicknames for you - Mr. Squishy, No-yin, Nolly-bear, tubs, pumpkin... we are always calling you something!  It is so much fun to see your bond growing with your sister, daddy, and me.  You are so unbelievably loved... I am still in awe that you are my son.  You are so special to me, Nolan, I love you so much.  I am proud of you and wish time would slow down a little bit so I could relish in your sweet baby phase for as long as possible.  I see your tiny hands and feet and think about all of the amazing things ahead of us, I just hope it doesn't come too fast!  Most importantly, my hope for you is that you are always happy, healthy, strong, and kind.  You mean the world to me.

I love you very much, son.  And I will forever and ever!

Your mama

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Napa Getaway

TL and I are not afraid of going places with the kids... the adventure is always a little more hectic, but the memories are always worth it.  Every once in a while (and when we can make it work) it is so nice to do a getaway for just the two of us.  I am so unbelievably grateful that my parents are so amazing and want to watch our babies for us to go - and trust me, the kids don't miss us when they're with Gramz and Pops.

We just went for one night, but it was very nice.  It was my first time leaving the kids overnight - and it was much harder for me than them.  TL and I took the 1.5 hour drive to Napa and left late morning.  We arrived to our hotel The Westin Verasa Napa before lunch, checked in, and then took the short walk over to Oxbow Market.  Oxbow market is really neat - lots of different places to eat and shop.  The Westin is a great place to stay - walking distance to the downtown area!

While we were there, we also spent some time with a cocktail by the pool, and went to a few different restaurants and bars.  We ate dinner at Tra Vigne in Saint Helena (one of the first places we ever ate together in Napa - try the mozzarella if you go... ahhh-mazing!)  The next day, we woke up late after sleeping through the night (a huge treat for me!), went to breakfast and visited a winery in the Carneros region of Napa.  We have never visited this area of Napa, and we have been there several times.  After a tasting at Saintsbury (an adorable winery) we had lunch at the Fremont Diner before hitting the road and heading back to our babes.

We had so much fun just catching up, talking, and spending some quality time together.  Sometimes life feels like its moving so fast it can all be a blur, and this time was definitely needed to slow down with my love.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Dear Nolan... You're 6 Months Old

My squishy, dreamy-eyed little boy...

I was holding you on my chest tonight as I rocked you to sleep.  Your long, almost 20 pound little body snug against me, I must have kissed you 100 times.  You are such a mellow, sweet, smiley little guy - already your little zest for life is starting to show.  You laugh and giggle so easily, love to fly in the air, love watching your big sister, and you are really watching and soaking in all of your surroundings.

Watching you grow this last month has been amazing.  You are getting strong!  On June 18th you started rolling back to front with a little more ease.  I was a concerned a couple weeks ago because you weren't rolling much.  Well, in the last week, you have really started rolling - in all directions, front to back, back to front!  You see toys and reach for them, or roll to them - and you have great control over your little fingers.  You have a strong head and neck and you are very close to being able to sit on your own.  You love to sit in the bumbo because it keeps you upright.  You will sit in it for long stretches of time reaching around for toys and blankets.  It's really cute because your sister always wants to be near you and she will pull her chair up next to yours.  You also love to lay on your back and stick your toes in your mouth!

You went into the jump-a-roo for the first time on May 31st and immediately liked it.  You are crazy in that thing... jumping up and down like a wild man.  You also love the water - you kick and splash and chew on toys in the bath.  You and Andie take them together and it is so much fun to see you interact with each other.  I am so happy you love the water - it always makes you content.

You are a very good eater.  On June 3rd (just over 5 months old) I gave you your first taste of sweet potatoes... you ate so well and now you are eating apples, bananas, carrots, prunes, and avocado.  You open your mouth up really wide and let me just shovel it in... it is really adorable, and I am relieved that you like solid foods.  We are still breastfeeding, and I am so grateful that we have already made it 6 months.  You are quite the little pooper as well - sometimes you manage to have 3 or 4 big, outfit changing bow outs in one day!

Daddy and I took our first overnight trip away from you and your sister last week and Gramz and Pops came to stay with you while we were gone.  It was much harder on me than it was for you, but I knew you were in good hands.  You did very well for them.  You love to snuggle and sleep - we call pops your "popsupedic" mattress because you sleep very well on his chest.  It is so cute how happy and comfortable you are with them!  We also left you with our sitter, Julia, for the first time this month and you did very well for her.  She liked getting to cuddle with you, too!

You are wearing size 3 diapers, 6-12 month & 9 month clothes, and you're getting close to bumping up to 12 month sleepers.  You are long and heavy, and although I am devastated at how big you're getting, I am also relieved that you are growing and thriving.  You aren't the best sleeper - sometimes you will be up every hour, and sometimes you will go for a 5-7 hour stretch.  We still haven't hit our stride with sleeping, but we will eventually.  In the mean time, I will just continue to soak in my time with my little baby boy needing me so much.  I can't tell you how much I love snuggling with you!  You have quite a few nicknames - "No-yin, buttercup, butter, night-owl Nolan, squishy, bubba" - to name a few.

Nolan, I can't believe that you are 6 months old today.  I can't believe that so much time has already passed since I met you for the first time.  You are such an amazing baby, so happy, loving, and snuggly.  You are absolutely beautiful and my goodness, I am so unbelievably grateful for you every day.  Your smile lights up our whole world - and all I have to do is close my eyes and I can see it and it immediately makes me feel happy.  My favorite thing you have started doing this month is giving kisses.  You lean in, open those big luscious lips and push your face into mine.  It is ridiculously adorable.

I am so blessed to be your mommy.  I love watching you change and grow everyday.  It's amazing how quickly you're learning, and how much you are observing the world around you.  I am very proud of you, son.  You are giving me a whole different perspective on the world and seeing you laugh and smile is the highlight of my day.  You and your sister have made being a mom the most treasured journey of my life.

Someday, when you read these letters, I hope you know that I look forward to writing them every month and I love you more then you will ever be able to comprehend.

6 months... one half of a year... I am such a lucky mommy.

Love you forever and ever,

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Merino Kids Sleep Sack Review

Nolan isn't the best sleeper in the world, but he isn't the worst either.  We've been trying every trick to see if we can get him to go longer than a 2-3 hour stretch... some nights we are successful, and other nights... not so much.

When we was first born, we tried several different swaddle blankets - some with velcro and other sleep sacks that just zipped.  I was really excited to try the Merino Kids Sleep Sack because they get really good reviews and you can use them from newborn all the way through the toddler years.

I don't know if it makes him sleep any better, but it sure is a great quality sleep sack.  They are made from organic cotton and it should last him until he is close to two years old.  Now that he is getting hot, sometimes I only put him in a short sleeve onesie with the sack, but when it was colder out, it worked really well at keeping him warm (almost a little too warm... look out for sweaty backs - that happened to him and I had to remember to keep him out of the long sleeved onesies).  The sleep sacks also make it nice for when kids are a little older because it makes it tougher for them to climb out of the crib.

The sleep sack is really good quality and washes up nice.  It's a little expensive, but I think you may only need one of them, usually I will go a few nights between washes because he always has something on under it when he wears it.  I also love the feel of it... it's really soft and the zipper is nice because it is completely out of the way.

Merino Kids also has some other adorable sleepwear and accessories - it's a New Zealand based company.  These pictures were taken before bed - didn't want to risk waking him up after he fell asleep :)

Merino Kids sent me this sleep sack to use and review.  All opinions are my own.