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I think we’ve finally come to the post-holiday cruise. Where we aren’t trying to recover from the holidays anymore and life is starting to fall back into what feels like a familiar rhythm. Which is funny, because I’m not sure exactly what constitutes as a familiar rhythm these days, as the last half of 2013 jumped from massive traveling, to the tail end of pregnancy, to new baby living, then straight into the holidays. So maybe it’s less that things are returning to normal, but that with the absence of any major plans on the horizon, I feel like we’ve finally hit that ledge that leads into deeper water. The opportunity to be relatively still for a while. To be homebodies, and feel out this life now, which has managed to ease it’s way out of the family with a newborn stage and into whatever is next.

There have been so many changes already. I don’t even know where to start. Maybe with just a few.

Mason. His baby talk feels like it has faded all together. Which doesn’t mean that we can always understand everything that he says, but he’s nailing, not only actual words, but sentences and common phrases that we use. Thank you is no longer “Thap tham”, but actually sounds like “Thank you” or even “Thanks” He’s taken to saying, “Maybe tomorrow” and “maybe next time” when we ask him to eat or do something that he isn’t interested in at the moment. And when you ask him what he thinks about something, or if he likes something, you can see him pause and consider it… If it’s food, he tastes whatever is new, furrows his brow and goes “hmmm” before he reports back. I would give anything to be inside of his head and witness the process of thought that goes on in this little 2 year old’s brain. But in the absence of psychic powers, I am content with watching the expressions and opinions that come out of this kiddo from here.

Caleb. Is already 3 months old. Life definitely is moving quicker with two little ones than it did when we just had Mason. I can hardly believe its been three months already. This tiny tiny boy is such a sweet bundle. He is quick to smile, and loves to gurgle and coo make sounds at you, and breaks out into a huge grin when you repeat them back to him. He works so hard to pull himself to sitting and looks so proud when he stands now too, all unsteady and wobbly, complete with bobble-head action up top. Little things are different about the two boys at this age. I remember when Mason moved into his own crib, every now and then he would let out a terrified scream in the middle of the night, and I would leap up and race down the hall to see that he had pulled his blanket up over his face accidentally, scaring himself when he woke up. Caleb loves pulling his blankets up high when he’s nestled in the swing, snuggling into them and falling asleep easily that way.

There are so many more things. So many things that I want to record, to share, to remember.

But a little at a time.




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A well-loved blanket

photo by Mark

Beaver Nation

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Corvallis welcomed us to town with a beautiful rainbow and treated us well the past three days. We had a small hotel room near downtown and the river and did a lot of walking. In all, I think we walked most of the city and the downtown area daily. The weather cooperated for the most part but it did rain everyday and we bought umbrellas at a local thrift shop.

Corvallis also taught us that Mason is still allergic to eggs. Bummer. We were having breakfast on Wednesday and low and behold Elaine’s veggie fritter had a surprise egg ingredient. Luckily Mason started refusing his food and we noticed that he was breaking out around his eyes and cheek. We were able to get him some medication and he napped longer but otherwise got better quickly.

On a positive note we had a great meal at Gathering Together Farms (thanks for the recommendation Carly!) Located a little outside of Corvallis, it is a small restaurant located on a farm that grows most of the ingredients for their dishes. Mason had fun flirting with our waitress and scored a free squash and lots of smiles. With these photos you can see parts of the restaurant and Mason having his first sips of peppermint tea.


We had fun in Corvallis, walking downtown, the river park, farmers market, the campus of Oregon State, and even found time to find two geocashes. We each had a solo night out- Elaine went to a coffee shop and later went salsa dancing and I went to a movie. Elaine had a blast and I was wishing The Master had more pizazz

We left town this morning and made our way to Portland. Yeah Portland! We are taking lots of photos here too and I’ll get them posted in a couple days. Before that though, here are two more photos from Corvallis… Enjoy!



Bend, OR

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(This is Mark logged into Elaine’s account)


The first stop on our family trip to Oregon and Washington was to Bend and we got to stay with our good friends Tiffany & Dave who have lived there for about a year and a half. It was great to stay with friends, get tours and recommendations, and they even watched Mason for an evening and we were able to go to the Dechutes Brewery. In addition we got to see Lindsay, a former massage classmate of Elaine, and her family.

It was a beautiful time to visit Bend and I think we took advantage of our three nights in town. Tiffany took us to the parks, out to fun restaurants, and on a fun morning walk along the river (if you ask Elaine it was more of a hike). Trees were full of color- some looked on-fire with a deep red and aspen were still full of gold colored leaves.

Our final day in Bend started with a surprise… we woke up to snow! Elaine didn’t believe my observation, guess I can be a little sarcastic at times, but was over joyed to show Mason his first snow storm. We all quickly bundled up and went out to catch the biggest snow flakes I’ve EVER seen. Mason seemed a little confused at first but then seemed to catch on that being cold and wet by choice is a lot of fun.

Thanks again Tiffany & Dave! we had a great time and now we are off to Corvallis.

We took a ton of photos in Bend and here are a few…enjoy, Mark
















Padero Beach

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Hi! Wanted to share some photos from our recent trip to the beach. The stop was a little last minute and spontaneous but well worth it. We weren’t able to stop at Padero Beach for very long but the weather was perfect and ocean was quiet and scenic. It was a fun way to spend 30 minutes.
Mason had fun watching the birds (new favorite thing to do), walking on the sand, and dipping his toes into the ocean. Check out how blond he is getting! Enjoy the photos








We’re Leaving (for) Las Vegas

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After a lovely, albeit short, visit with the fam.. We took off this morning from Orange County, with my mom waving from the front yard and Ruby peering longingly through the front screen door.
Mason is trooping through this road trip so far, cross your fingers for us that his mood stays this good the remaining few hours!


And The Beat Goes On

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((Above is last night’s sunset))

It’s hard to believe how much we’ve done already in just two and a half days. Harder still, to believe we’ve done all these things and covered all this territory while still feeling like our pace is rather relaxed and spontaneous.
We’ve all been enjoying each others company quite a bit!


We spent the last couple nights in Hannibal, Missouri, surrounded by Mark Twain quotes and Huck Finn references. We packed up in the morning and stayed out till the evening.
We hiked through the Riverside Park


We stopped for a picnic lunch under the trees. Let me tell you the contents of a veggie sandwich in the Midwest (or at least in Hannibal)… Fried green beans, pesto, spinach, wild rice pilaf, and spinach artichoke dip! I felt like I had cleared a Thanksgiving table of all it’s side dishes and placed them between two pieces of bread! But let me tell you… As odd as these contents were… they tasted absolutely delicious!


On the two block street of downtown Hannibal, we squeezed in a couple geocach hunts, one in a pretty little butterfly garden.


We strolled the city, paused for breaks from the heat, and made some new friends.


And we cruised along the water on the Mark Twain Riverboat.


Of course, traveling with a nine month old adds its own special mark onto the traveling experience. But Mason has been a true trooper. While the different time zone has left his naptimes a little wonky, he’s been able to nap on the go, in the Ergo carrier. Which means we aren’t confined to the hotel room a couple times a day.


His inner clock is still on California time it seems. He wakes up in the morning around 8:30 or 9am, and seems to settle for sleep around 8 or 9pm. Everything shifted over a couple hours.
When we laid him down to sleep tonight at his normal 7pm bedtime, he kept popping back up to chat with us. We finally tried barricading his line of vision from his crib to where we sat, winding down from the day… But he managed to pull himself to standing several times and find us through the pillows. Hard to resist this kid’s giggles!


But now he’s fast asleep, and Mark is nearly so next to me… So that means it’s time for me to surrender to the pillows myself. Looking forward to seeing Grandma Gable and everyone else in St Louis tomorrow!