Thursday, May 18, 2017

Strawberry Picking!

The drive through Watsonville and into Castroville and Salinas is gorgeous farmland, and as you drive by the strawberry fields, they are so big you can see the red spots throughout the fields even from the road. 

We had such a fun morning picking our own strawberries at Gizdich Ranch. J loved it! I thought we would pick like a pound, but he just kept going and we got about 4 pounds of strawberries! Dom just loved running up and down, and dumping out the buckets J had filled. He would be a bad farm worker. 

^^proud of his harvest^^
 And the other part of Gizdich Ranch I love?? The homemade pie shop yummmmm. There is also a little play area with tables.

 Glad I could meet up with Brittany, whom I had met way back in Okinawa at the USO baby shower. Our babies were just weeks apart, and now look at them!

So next time you buy strawberries, look at the label, and most likely they were picked in Watsonville. Maybe J even picked them for you ;)

Saturday, May 13, 2017

The Pink Carpet

I took the boys on a walk solo this afternoon since Victor is in the thick of thesis writing and I didn't want them cooped up all day on a Saturday. The Pink Carpet is in full bloom right now in Pacific Grove and it's so lovely. 
 ^^can you spot j pondering on the bench?^^
 ^^lots of this when he doesn't get to do exactly what he wants. heaven help me he has sass^^
 J sure had a great time. He's a great little walking buddy who actually listens and stays with you now (for the most part). Dominic on the other hand...not so much. Let's hope it gets better with time. I sure love them, and I love this place. Beauty everywhere!

Sunday, May 7, 2017

A Very Happy Sunday

Let me tell you something: we have 1:30 church and it. is. rough. But we have learned to cope, and it's not nearly as bad as it used to be. Today was a great Sunday, thanks to these genius toys my friend Jaqui gave me, and thanks to a crock pot meal ready to eat as soon as we came home, and most importantly, thanks to the fact that Dominic got to go to NURSERY today!!! We even got out of the house for a beautiful little walk out in Carmel before bedtime. The cherry on top. 
THIS BOY. He was ecstatic to finally join his brother in nursery, and he was ecstatic that we let him do this easy walk all on his own. I think he is feeling so grown up. 

So hard to get a picture with both of them these days. Especially outside. They just want to explore. 
 And how cute is this?? I had an extra copy of Pride and Prejudice in my backseat so I swapped it out for something else. I want one in my yard!

So grateful for Sundays like these. We haven't had a lot this year with two crazy little boys. And honestly, there were a few times when I questioned if it was worth it to keep taking them to church for the full three hours every week. But I see things getting better. I see them slowly starting to see why we go. And there are lots of people who always encourage us saying how they are proud of us that we don't just pick up and leave when the boys act up. I'm so grateful for these little moments of encouragement.

Anyway, hope you had a happy Sunday, and here's to a new week!

Monday, May 1, 2017

Some Thoughts about Feeding Babies

Something that I have been thinking about for quite a few months now is all the "controversy" surrounding feeding a baby. And the first thought I have is why??? Every few months or so I see articles and videos circulate on the internet about women getting shamed or harassed for breastfeeding in public. One just happened this week in Utah. It absolutely boggles my mind.

First of all, some of these videos are blatantly fake, which bothers me because it's just trying to rile people up. But the stories that are real are so baffling to me, because I have breastfed in pretty much every public place imaginable and have never been harassed about it. Restaurants, museums, airplanes, hotel lobbies, the beach, public swimming pools, church, the car, taxi rides, and many more. And as you can see in the picture (one of my very favorites), I don't like to use a cover because the first few month's of my baby's life were very hot months. But at the same time I do feel that being discreet is important, but where do you draw the line? A baby needs to eat and sometimes trying to be discreet with a hungry crying baby who is still learning how to eat is NOT easy.

As if all of that isn't hard enough, then there's the internal and external pressure women face regarding breastfeeding. The pressure to teach the baby to latch correctly, the pressure to have a great milk supply, the pressure for how long to breastfeed. This pressure caused my a lot of anxiety before I had a baby, and I wish I would have spared myself the stress and known what I know now: that a FED baby is the best kind of baby, indifferent of how that baby is fed.

That being said, I had a very happy and enjoyable 11 months of breastfeeding my first baby. Some of my most favorite memories. I do believe that breastfeeding is preferable, and I don't feel like it's right to not even try to breastfeed before someone says it isn't for them. My viewpoints shifted a lot between my first and second baby, because I had different feeding experiences with them.

When my milk supply went down after about 6 weeks, my second baby was not a happy baby. I didn't know it was a milk supply problem until I pumped to see it was not a lot of milk, and when I gave him a bottle of formula, he guzzled it down. This was after a few very emotionally draining weeks of a fussy baby, while also trying to meet the demands of a 17 month old. It was one of the hardest times of my life, and when I was faced with supplementing with formula, it was an easy answer, because I was willing to do anything to just have a happy baby for my sanity.

It shouldn't be a conflicting choice. At first I felt like a failure that I couldn't get my supply back up, and I worried that people would judge me that I didn't breastfeed for that long, but I quickly got over it when I saw a nice change in my baby that made all of our lives so much better.

So I guess my point is, if you feel inclined to complain about someone breastfeeding in public, or you are afraid to breastfeed in public, or you are stressing out about breastfeeding in general, or you judge yourself or other women for formula feeding: just STOP IT. Just worry about what matters most: snuggling a happy well-fed baby and enjoying those precious months, because way too soon do the become toddlers who are absolutely crazy. I forever cherish those moments of feeding my babies indifferent of whether the milk came from my body or from a bottle.

Friday, April 28, 2017

Monterey Farmers Markets

Ahhhh, Monterey Farmers Markets. Between those and the beach, they are my happy place and my pick me up. They have the same therapeutic power for me. There is literally a market in different places around the Monterey Peninsula every day of the week!
^^first time at the market! There would be four more babies if we were to have a reunion so crazy^^

When I moved here, I first visited the Friday market with my friend Amanda and referred to her guide she put together as I began checking out the markets. This site is also a great day by day schedule for all the markets. 
one of my favorite spots at the Friday market. They always have the prettiest flowers, including the amazing ranunculus from above. 
 On Tuesday night, we love to take a family walk over to the downtown market. It's easier to make the 15 minute walk than to try to park. It's more of a street fair than a market, but it has theee best strawberries for the best price! The Bay Fresh Berry Producer from Salinas. The owner is such a great guy.
^^J also loves the bird guy that comes out^^
My favorite treats from the Tuesday market: kettle corn, cucumber juice, and home brewed root beer from Pacific Grove. Yum.
 So many happy times at these markets! I plan on going every week until we move because I sure am going to miss having so many so close.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

An Evening Walk to the Beach

 Last night, we told J he could have a cookie if he ate all his dinner. He did not, so he did not get a cookie. But when I told him tonight we could walk to the beach if he ate all his dinner, he sure did eat it all, and he was so excited, since it was a "sunny day" and he had found his long lost beach toys in the backyard. Victor still wasn't home (it's thesis writing time), so this was a fun little date with my babies.

For the first time in forever I took my nice camera to try and practice its settings.
 ^^that face!!^^
 Love these brothers playing! Dom would pretend to play, then run off to the water when he thought I wasn't watching.
 A sand dollar for good luck.
 ^^dang look at those curls!^^
I sure love this short walk from our house. It will definitely be what I miss most when we have to leave! Monterey you are so beautiful.