Tuesday, June 20, 2017

One Last Afternoon in Carmel by the Sea

After the stress of getting moved out and the cottage ready to go, an afternoon in Carmel by the Sea was just what I needed. I can never get enough of this insanely charming city. This time around I made sure to bring my camera and take pictures of some of my favorite nooks and crannies throughout the city. 

^^this is the Cypress Inn, owned by Doris Day, who still lives in Carmel Valley!^^
^^the house right on the coast is a Frank Lloyd Wright house^^
We met up with my friend Gleidy and her kids at the Cottage of Sweets, the cutest candy store everrr. We also took some hidden alleys over to the cutest art gallery that the kids loved. It was seriously such a lovely perfect afternoon with friends. 
^^look at those cute happy kids!^^
 Oh Carmel, you get me every time. How I wish I could buy a house there and stay forever!

Sunday, June 18, 2017

The Fathers Day post my husband deserves


I've never done a "fathers day tribute" post because for the past two years of Victor being a father, we have never been able to actually celebrate Victor on Fathers Day. For his first year as a father, Victor was driving a car all the way across the country while I had flown with the baby, which says a lot about what kind of husband and father Victor is: selfless and willing to do the harder task to make my life a little easier. Last year, we were in Europe without the kids celebrating our five years of marriage, which was awesome, and this year we will be right in the middle of a move so I just want to put this out there: Victor is a man who fully deserves to be honored on Fathers Day. 

Before having children, I honestly had no idea what Victor would be like as a father, since he isn't that kind of guy to play with other people's kids or want to hold babies. I should have just trusted that his character in how he treated me every day would carry over to his children, which it has. Since day one of bringing our babies into the world, he has made it clear that his greatest joy and priority is his children (and me still ;). 

I thank my Heavenly Father everyday that the father of my children is a man who puts faith and family first, and is genuinely happy doing so. That the father of my children doesn't view time with his kids as a chore or just "babysitting" until I get home. That he always keeps his cool and handles the situations with the kids when I am on the verge of losing it. That he checks on the boys every single night before he goes to sleep himself, and that he has slept on the floor next to them more than once on nights he felt they needed it. That he doesn't judge me for my not-proud moments of parenting. That he always shows me love and respect, and the boys see it. (J now makes sure that Victor gives me a hug and a kiss after him every night and it's the cutest thing ever)

I just want to end with one of my favorite tribute to fathers: this talk from last year by D. Todd Christofferson:

"We call on all fathers to do better and to be better. We call on media and entertainment outlets to portray devoted and capable fathers who truly love their wives and intelligently guide their children, instead of the bumblers and buffoons or 'the guys who cause problems,' as fathers are all too frequently depicted.

"To my brethren, the fathers in this Church, I say, I know you wish you were a more perfect father. I know I wish I were. Even so, despite our limitations, let us press on. Let us lay aside the exaggerated notions of individualism and autonomy in today’s culture and think first of the happiness and well-being of others. Surely, despite our inadequacies, our Heavenly Father will magnify us and cause our simple efforts to bear fruit." 

I just love what he says and I completely agree that the media all too frequently shortchanges the role of fathers. It bothers me because I have seen my whole life how essential fathers are. I'm so thankful for my own dad for always setting the example to me of how to treat his family. It makes me even more grateful that I have my husband continuing that, and also the husbands of those whom I love so much like my sister and close friends. 

So Happy Fathers Day to all the amazing fathers in my life. But especially to my husband. You are doing an amazing job. 

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Touring the Chocolate Factory

There's the yummiest chocolate company based out of Monterey called Lula's Chocolates and we have it extra good, because the owner is in our ward so we get to enjoy Lula's for Mother's Day, and Santa brings the kids Lula's for the Christmas party. I'm sure going to miss that! 

They do free factory tours, so we decided to check it out. It was a small factory, and honestly I think it is better for older kids. Oh well, live and learn. We did enjoy the samples though, and of course, bought some sea salt caramels and other goodies on the way out!
^^when I finally convinced him to wear the hair net. it was a struggle^^
^^I look like a lunch lady^^
^^Cutest little friends!^^
^^not a good picture, but this is the owner Scott Lumd who gave us our tour^^

Another fun little thing to do in Monterey!

Monday, June 12, 2017

Confessions

Things on my mind lately that I need to get off my chest.
1. Lipsense. I've grown pretty accustomed to friends selling things on facebook, but NEVER to the extent of Lipsense. I am sooooooooooooooooooo (can't put enough o's) sick of it. What bother me the most is the people who I never talk to or haven't spoken to for years or even people who have a family member that sells it and they add me to endless lipsense upon lipsense group. I am not going to buy your lipsense so just stop it. STOP IT!

2. Yesterday was my last Sunday in my ward here, therefore my last Sunday teaching my 12-13 year old Sunday School class. As much as I enjoyed it (mostly), it's been two years and I was ready to be done. But my confession is that for the next 6-8 weeks I will be moving and traveling and traveling some more so I don't anticipate getting a church calling, and being able to just be a church attender for a couple months feels like a vacation in and of itself.

3. This tweet is all too accurate in describing a conversation between me and Victor:
You see, Victor plays a lot of spanish music (he is Hispanic after all). One day he was playing "Despacito" and I was all "Victor, I'm sick of listening to spanish music." He replied, "this is Justin Bieber." me: "Oh really???? Well, ok, let's listen to it." I just love me some Justin Bieber, a confession I have made several times on this blog. 

4. I went to put gas in my car when Victor got home. It was a short errand and I was so tempted to go get a dr. pepper in the drive thru or something. I resisted, but I did sit in my driveway for a solid 30 minutes. I made some phone calls, sent some emails, and enjoyed the quiet. It was glorious.

 5. There is a Vietnamese restaurant here that we would go to all the time and I sure would crave their ban mih and boba drinks. That is until we had an experience there with my parents where a rude middle aged lady got mad at us for Dominic being fussy. Was he being a pain? Yep. But was she really mean about it? Yep. I wasn't aware I was at an exclusive five star restaurant where children are not allowed. ANYWAY. It's the weirdest thing, because just like a bad case of food poisoning, my desire to go to this restaurant has completely gone away. It's been like 3 months now!
6. I take a lot of pictures like this, apparently.

You can confess your stuff to me, I won't judge ;)
Have a great week!

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Memorial Day in San Francisco

One of the things on our California bucket list (specifically San Francisco bucket list) was to go to a Giants game, so when Victor had the chance to get free tickets for volunteering before the game in uniform, we took it! The catch was we had to be there like 3 hours before the game started, and I'm not gonna lie, I was a little anxious about being able to pass the time without having any meltdowns. Luckily it was great! Thanks to these three things...

First, the stadium is right on the water, with a great walking path along the bay. I had always wanted to check out the Ferry Building, so I walked over with the boys.

 We ate some yummy Argentine empanadas and fresh juice. There were a lot of food stalls that looked fun to try.
 ^^Dominic is always so photogenic^^
 ^^They also loved walking under the huge Bay Bridge^^
Second was this little park right next to the ball park. Bless this park! They got to run and play after the long car ride, and it really helped with them sitting (mostly) at the game. The ball park itself actually had a really cool free kids area, with 2 big slides in the giant coca cola bottle, and a mini baseball diamond you could play on, but the boys weren't tall enough for the slides, sadly. But I loved this ball park because it was so family friendly.

Which leads me to my third thing for our successful outing: free stroller check in at the ball park. Sounds so silly, but with two little boys who like to run away as fast as the can, I need my stroller! Especially if it's just me. Being able to take it and walk around before the game and then take it into the ball park was a lifesaver. 
Good job handing out those flags, Victor ;) Now let's go to the game. 
The boys were pretty good, and we lasted about eight innings, long enough to see this epic brawl between Bryce Harper and the Giants pitcher! It was exciting haha. Go watch it. 
And one last view of the beautiful ball park as we walked to the car--the boys were snoozing in the stroller. Happy Memorial Day!

Friday, May 26, 2017

My Monterey Favorites

We are less than a month away from leaving the beautiful Monterey Peninsula. I've been thinking and looking back on photos of the last two years here and wanted to share some favorites. I have loved living here and will always have such warm and happy memories. So if you get the chance to come here, DO IT. Prettiest and most diverse place in California, and in my opinion, the country! 
1. Walks to and around Old Fishermans Wharf. We made this walk countless times from our little cottage and never grew tired of it. The beautiful water, the sailboats sitting serenely in the harbor, the animal watching, and the samples of clam chowder. Something for everyone ;)

2. The Flowers. Gorgeousness year round, particularly the late winter and spring. Calla Lily Valley, Pacific Grove's Pink Carpet, fields of wildflowers at Fort Ord National Monument, and the endless choice of flowers at the farmers markets. They make me so happy. 



3. Hiking at Garrapatta and Point Lobos. Our go-to spots when we wanted to enjoy a variety of hikes without driving far. I love both, but we ended up at Garrapatta a lot, because it's free and we didn't feel like dropping $10 all the time at Point Lobos ha. Both are must see places in my opinion. Calla Lily Valley is at Garrapatta, by the way.



 4. Big Sur. Love this place. Grateful we were able to enjoy a lot of it before the summer wildfires and winter flooding blocked full access and closed some of the state parks we love. McWay Falls is one of them. Nepenthe and Rocky Point Restaurants both have amazing views, and the Big Sur River Inn is such a fun place to kick back and soak your feet in the river.
 5. The Redwoods. I don't think I ever wrote a whole post about them, but I always LOVED visiting the Redwoods Forest. My go-to place is Henry Cowell State Park in Santa Cruz. (the quickest drive and the grove is stroller friendly which made it really easy) We also did the old steam train ride with the boys through the forest which is right next door to the State Park. These trees are amazing and inspiring!

6. Yosemite. Incredible. After visiting in the fall we had to return again in the spring for the full waterfall glory of this beautiful place. Worth the drive!



7. Walks around downtown Monterey and Carmel-by-the-Sea. Carmel is so incredibly charming it's so fun to just enjoy every street and all the hidden gems. Downtown Monterey isn't as charming ha but it still has some yummy places to eat and cool historical places to see. My favorite is the Pacific House Museum and Gardens. It's free entry, so I would walk here all the time with the boys and enjoy the Spanish style and architecture.

8. Beaches! So many beaches to choose from in pretty much every direction. The one downside? Maybe only one or two days out of the year will you actually wear a swimming suit and get in the water ha! Even fully clothed, the beaches here still are so relaxing. My favorites are Carmel Beach and Carmel River State Beach, and for a quick trip with no waves for the kids, the Monterey State Beach/Del Monte Beach.
9. Restaurants, cafes, and bakeries. Honestly, this is something I wish we could have enjoyed more of, but I don't think our bank accounts would allow us to. Since Monterey and Carmel are vacation towns, things can get pricey pretty quickly. So our favorites would be in the mid-range ha.
Favorite bakeries: Parker Lusseau, Lafayette Bakery in Carmel, Cafe La Strada, and Pavel's Bakery in Pacific Grove.
Favorite breakfast place: Lulu's Griddle in the Middle--yummiest crab cake breakfast!
Favorite (kind of) fast food: The Poke Lab, Dametra Cafe (the one in the Monterey Mall), Crepes of Brittany, and Ike's Sandwiches. (Victor and J will say Chipotle and we certainly ate there a lot, but I'm not including it)
Favorite date night restaurants: The Beach House in Pacific Grove, Lala Grille and Dametra Cafe in Carmel. 
Favorite Ice Cream: Revival and the Ghirardelli Ice Cream on Cannery Row (save yourself the trip to San Francisco and go to this one! Prettier views, less crowded and same menu).



10. Favorite Places for the kids: Earthbound Farms in Carmel, Gizdich Ranch in Watsonville, and the MY Museum in Downtown Monterey. Also the Monterey Bay Aquarium--has a great kids area! Love these places for my kids (and myself) to enjoy. Any place where my boys can run, explore and enjoy nature is what makes life great for all of us. Sometimes I really just wanted a Chik Fil A play place (like 70 miles away), but these places are great substitutes ha. 

So there you go. Maybe someday someone will take my suggestions, but in the meantime, I hope you've enjoyed seeing Monterey through my eyes. Love this beautiful place!
 
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