Hi Friends!! It's been way too long since I shared snippets of this little family with the world. And with family living far away that will just never do. Plus, I am officially the worst scrapbooker EVER so if I don't get it down here, it doesn't happen. Some of my very favorite posts on this site are sweet reminders of how quickly life changes. So here we have it, a little update on the boys and a few pictures from our recent trip to Truckee.
Jude is becoming such a grown-up kid. He loves school and gets along great with his teacher and the other kids. He went from knowing a few sight words and getting frustrated with sounding out to reading whole books! It is so fun to watch your child discover the magic of reading, I really couldn't be more proud. And what's more, he went from following me around with his note pad asking me how to spell every word to giving it a shot on his own and practicing what they call "best guess spelling", kindergarten sure is a cool place. Beyond reading and writing, he has also learned how to tie his shoes, ride a two wheeler, and a skateboard! Before I know it he'll be driving the car!!
Judisms still exist, I think my very favorite is that he says "I willn't" instead of "I won't". I willn't ever correct him. These days it's mostly his use of a very extensive vocabulary that cracks us up. He uses words like unnecessary, intelligently, and precipitation in everyday conversation. He's in that phase where he loves to play "what if" he could sit around and conjecture for hours.
Ronan continues to be the human embodiment of jazz hands. This kid is such a charmer, he's pretty much got us all wrapped around his chubby little finger. One of his coolest new tricks is telling knock, knock jokes! His brother taught him and it is so adorable. His favorite one to tell goes something like this: "Knock, Knock" "Who's there?" "Banana" "Banana who?" "Orange!" and of course we all crack up. Not only is he speaking in sentences, but he can ride his scooter and my personal favorite: use the potty! I'm tempted to cry daily over the fact that he isn't a baby anymore, but then for the most part it's all so fun.
His absolute favorite phrase is "Mommy hold you" and whilst the clinginess can be exhausting, I am also doing my best to savor this special phase while I still mean the world to him. Beyond being held by mommy his interests include anything with animals, especially of the barnyard variety, and playing with diggers. He also loves to come into bed with us and "cozy up" and his all time favorite snack is an "eema" (AKA tangerine).
I am happy to report that brotherly love still exists in this home. I'd be lying if I said that they didn't have squabbles, but overall the love is strong. Jude watches over his brother with such kindness and Ronan does his darndest to be just like his big brother.
I love being a mom, especially to these two amazing kiddos. I am so grateful and proud, what luck!
If you are looking for the perfect place to spend a few days (and nights) reconnecting with your love, look no further than Mendocino, CA. Jason and I recently took a long overdue trip to the Mendocino Coast and it was nothing short of magic.
We spent the better part of the first day unsure of what to do with ourselves. Truly free adult time kind of blew our minds. There's nothing like a little break to make you realize just how bad you need one. Thankfully, a super cool place to stay and gorgeous scenery in every direction makes it pretty easy to unwind.
We stayed at the Andiron Inn which is seriously the raddest. The innkeepers are vintage collectors who have outfitted every room with the very best in fifties and sixties decor. Each room is one half of an adorable cottage with a little deck and beautiful views. The rooms are all themed in the best possible way. It was my birthday weekend so Jason booked the room he knew I'd love best: Make. It was packed with vintage craft supplies: paint by number, spirograph, bead loom, knit and crochet, you name it you could make it! Next time we go I'm going to book Read or Write for my book-collecting writer.
Food plays a big part in my vacation enjoyment and no visit to Mendocino would be complete without a reservation at Wild Fish. After living in Seattle for three years my bar for seafood restaurants is extremely high. Wild Fish does not disappoint. We started with locally caught uni, shared a gorgeous halibut and one of the best salmon dishes of my life, followed by a blackberry torte worthy of impolite plate licking.
Mendocino is gorgeous, relaxing, and just right for romance. I had such a nice time walking and talking to Jason without being interrupted. I have been with this wonderful man since he was a boy and I always savor the chance to revisit that young love, now made all the deeper by 15 years of shared experience. We laughed hard, talked lots, and started planning our next trip before we had even packed the car.
Visting The Mendocino Coast Quick Details:
Stay:The Andiron Inn. I really can't say enough good things about this place. I was seriously hesitant to share it with you because I want to be able to book a room for next time and once everyone figures out how rad it is I'll be SOL. Did I mention that it's totally affordable?
Wild Fish is an absolute MUST. Pricey and you'll need reservations, but oh so very worth it.
Last month we took the boys to the California Academy of Sciences and it was so rad! It got me thinking, maybe my lovely readers would like to know about the cool things there are to do and see in Northern California. And so a new series is born. Whenever we discover an awesome family spot, I will share our experience here. Oh, and I might have to share a few of my favorite grown up spots too, I do live in the wine country after all!
The California Academy of Sciences is located in gorgeous Golden Gate Park. The building alone warrants a visit. It was completely redone not too long ago and the results are truly amazing. The living roof is full of skylights that filter into an indoor rainforest. What I love most about this museum is that it has a perfect blend of old school natural history, stunning aquarium, and high tech science.
We skipped the gift shop and Jude was so great about it, I told him that he could make his own cool toy as soon as we got home. With almost no assistance from me he made this awesome sock snake, complete with bells in the tail for a rattle effect!
Visiting Cal Academy Quick Details:
Price: $34.95 for adults, $24.95 for kids 4-11, kids 3 and under are free. The cost of admission isn't cheap, but is worth it.
Ideal Age Range: 5-11. There is lots to do for all ages and it is very stroller friendly, but I think grade school kids get the very most out of it.
Tips: If you can go on a weekday instead of a weekend you will enjoy it all the more because it won't be super crowded. If your kids are good at sit down dining make a reservation for lunch at the restaurant, it is really good and has a bar. Otherwise, pack a lunch and take a little break to stroll Golden Gate Park and enjoy a picnic, the cafeteria is stressful and expensive. You can often find free parking in Golden Gate park but if you need to pay there is a great all day lot by the Japanese Tea Room. If time and energy allows, head across the road to the DeYoung, it is free to go in the tower and the views are amazing.
Alright, this little countdown could not be easier to make and it really worked! The idea is that there is one link for every hour in the car (give or take) and written inside is a suggested activity. It helped Jude understand that we were getting closer AND kept him occupied. I will never take a long car trip without one!
A few weekends ago, we took a quick and fabulous trip to Monterey. We stayed at this great hotel right on the beach. The weather was sunny, warm, and pretty much perfect. It was a trip full of walking on the beach, visiting my sister, checking out the aquarium, and good old fashioned relaxing. I really could have stayed for weeks.
But of all the highlights, the one I most wanted to share here was the discovering of Jude's imaginary friend, Freak Duke. Freak Duke is a Firefighting Constructioner who is often at "the working place." He is very tall, like a giant, and has short brown hair that he dries with socks. He has been known, on occasion, to rip open trees and poop in them. (That little gem came to be while Jude was trying very hard to wait until the next rest stop.)
I'm pretty sure listening to an almost three year old tell you about his imaginary friend is one of the most entertaining ways to spend a road trip. I can't wait until Jude is old enough to see Drop Dead Fred, it's one of my favorite movies, and I'm pretty sure Freak Duke would like it too.
Here's to Freak Duke, and imaginary friends everywhere!
Please feel free to link to my posts - I love it! However, all words and images are protected by copyright and cannot be used without my permission. My tutorials, pdfs, recipes, etc. are not for commercial use. Feel free to e-mail (smallfriendly at yahoo dot com) if you have questions. Thanks!