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A long time coming…

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Hello. It has been a while. I feel like I need to reintroduce myself. My last blog post was July 1st and there have been a number of changes in the last five months… in fact that has prevented me from writing. There are too many things to capture.

My goal here is to start slow, give a few updates, share some photos…. nice and easy. Nothing to it.

Here we go…

In mid July I accepted a job in Portland, Oregon. We spent a crazy few weeks packing, soaking up sunshine, seeing as many people as we could cram into our free time, and chasing around two little kiddos. We moved in mid-August and are renting  a wonderful, quaint two bedroom house in the North East portion of Portland. The house has an great yard with an amazing play structure with swings, a slide, and things to climb. We love having the fenced in space and are out there almost every day.  Ruby has been in beagle-bliss and loves patroling the parameter and chasing squirrels and other animals that live under the house (I don’t want to know what else is under there).

The transition hasn’t been seamless, but has gone incredibly smooth. The kids have done a great job, family and friends have visited and stayed in a small trailer on the property, and we are learning our way around our new community. Yes we get lost, but we have seen some very cool things by mistake. Portland has been good to us, even if it does have nasty weather at times.

Mason is an active 3 year old, full of spirit, spunk, and opinions. Over the last few months he’s transitioned away from an obsession with My Little Pony and Strawberry Shortcake. An interest in dinosaurs (especially Land Before Time) has been a consistent hit and Daniel the Tiger has been a recent request. He loves being outside, coloring, and building with his blocks. Caleb has changed so much in recent months. He started walking before his birthday and has the balance of an acrobat thanks to Mason’s glancing blows and nudges. He loves following Mason around, copies him constantly, and tries to keep up with the big brother pace. He is teething something serious right now (not much sleep for us in recent months) and is getting more verbal with his words, requests, and animal noises.

Everyone except for Ruby has had a birthday since we moved here. I turned 35 in August,  Caleb turned 1 in September, Mason turned 3 in October, and Elaine just turned 30 in November. Each birthday was special, a little quieter than last year, and memorable in its own way. The same was true for Thanksgiving, which consisted of picking up soup at a deli, making pies (pumpkin and apple), baking bread (whole wheat and broccoli cheese cornbread), and sweet potatoes. The food was simple and stress free and we are planning Christmas to be the same.

More update will come with time. Now some photos…..

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A day at the beach & Singing (!)

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We live so close to the beach that it is a shame that we don’t go as often as we do, but we made it out yesterday to El Capitan State Beach. We all had a great time and here are some photos of our adventure.
Also below is a video of Mason singing some songs… 2 minutes of fun with “Big Water” from Land Before Time 2 and Twinkle twinkle….plus tattoos!

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  If the Video doesn’t load… click HERE

Catch up

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Life has gotten busy but wanted to take a moment to catch up our blog.

Caleb began crawling in the last 10 days and just had his first tooth break through about a week ago. We celebrated with a few nights of good sleep but are now back to waking up a couple times a night. He loves eating food and loves water even more. Caleb has a great smile and loves bouncing and standing!

Mason has been a great big brother and loves to cuddle, hold, and check on Caleb. He talks baby talk to Caleb and began calling his Caleb-bean and baby Caleb. Mason loves going to his preschool that he started in January. He has a few friends and loves the school activities like playing with play-do, climbing things, and story time. Recently he has been infatuated with The Land Before Time movie series and would watch them everyday if he could. He has learned a lot about dinosaurs and you can often hear him roaring like a Sharptooth.

There are so many photos that I could share, but here are a few recent shots. Enjoy!

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Photos of the Day (Mason 2.5 years)

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Believe it or not, Mason is turning two and a half in a couple days. As is tradition,  photos were taken from the moment he awoke until he went to bed on the hour. The photos catalog his daily actives, his mood, and little events. It’s unbelievable how much he has changed over the past 6 months. One thing the photos won’t display is how verbal he has gotten in the last few months. What at one time was a couple of words that created a sentence now is detailed stories, opinions, and monologs. Crazy how quick it happens…

This photo of the day is a unique one as Elaine and Caleb are up North in the Bay area visiting Juliana and Jaclyn. I believe that Elaine took a lot of photos today with Caleb so we will get his photos up on the blog here shortly. Enjoy Mason’s day….

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I took a video of our dinner conversation this evening too. The video is about 4mins long and starts with a little “NO!” but then we dive into a conversation. It gets a little long but it is classic Mason… enjoy!

The Natural History Museum

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For the last couple of days Mason has been requesting to go to the Natural History Museum, a fun and educational spot in town for him to play, be outside, and see exhibits. Today we packed up our lunch and finally made it to the museum.
Here you’ll see Mason trying to feed a stuffed grizzly bear a fish, our lunch, a close up of Mason bird watching, Caleb catching up on his reading , and playing at the park. Enjoy!

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Caleb’s Story

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This  post is a long time overdue. You’ve seen his photos, but it’s time that you get filled in with details that led up to and right after Caleb joined our family on September 30th.

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Early in the morning on September 29th Elaine said that she began experiencing mild contractions. I’ll speak for myself  but I’d bet that we both began thinking of the next few giant life steps that were coming a week quicker than expected. You see we didn’t have the baby’s bed set up, our hospital bag wasn’t packed, the freezer could still hold more advance food, heck… we didn’t even have a name chosen yet. The deadline was approaching on all of these projects and they all came to the front of the queue at the same time.

IMG_6859In honor of Mason’s birth story, Elaine suggested that we make waffles for breakfast. It was a great suggestion that helped quiet my mind and focus on the present moment (as much as possible). Unfortunately our waffles didn’t turn out so hot. It’s a major side story, but we’ve had issues with our waffles staying together while cooking and not sticking to the grill. The waffles turned out to be more like waffle shavings so the batter then became pancakes. Regardless of the shape and size they tasted great and were enjoyed by all.

The contractions held tight for the rest of the morning and we began double timing the nesting projects. A call was also placed to Elaine’s parents to see if they could come to Santa Barbara earlier than expected. Thankfully they were able and could help care for Mason and Ruby if we had to go the hospital sooner that expected. At the same time I reached out to work and commitments I made for the week and rescheduled as much as possible.

That afternoon the contractions began to quiet in frequency and pain level. We breathed a sigh of relief but than began to wonder… was that a false alarm or was it a warning that our baby was coming soon?

We decided to go out for an early dinner at one of our favorite restaurants, Sojourners. It may have been unspoken, but I think there was a moment that we looked at each other and recognized that this would be our last meal with just the three of us. It was a great long dinner filled with quite moments, future planning, and reflection. Mason was a gem and had fun playing with his toys, a giant cup of apple juice, and some pre-birthday pie.

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At Mason’s bedtime we kissed him good night and began to unwind from a long day. Because the contractions had basically disappeared we took the night off from more projects. No extra cooking, packing, laundry, organizing or anything of that productive nature. I went to bed around 10pm fully expecting to go into work the following morning. We had some calm before the we went into action.

I don’t remember the exact time, but around 1:30am Elaine woke me up with intense contractions about 5 minutes apart. Quickly we began to document the contractions, pack bags, and get the necessitates together. We held tight and went to the hospital as soon as Ken and Ida made it to our house a little before 4am.

When we got to the ER Elaine requested a wheelchair and was pushed into the new Labor and Delivery part of the hospital. This was quite a different experience from two year prior… when Elaine was skipping down the hall much in the style of Fred Astaire.  The pain was increasing with each contractions and it wasn’t until the first nurse checked Elaine’s cervix that they got into action… she was 5cm {Elaine is convinced that she was 7cm but to be honest I don’t remember … So I’ll take her word}. She went immediately into the delivery room and was finally able to breathe and rest once her epiderral arrived.

Elaine was a champ the entire time but really began to shine as the baby came closer. In between pushes she was making small talk with the nurses and doctor, cracking jokes, and was very at ease with her breathing. Looking back it felt like she was only pushing for 30 minutes but I bet it was closer to an hour… and our baby was born at 10:09am.

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It is easy to get caught up in each step of pregnancy and delivery process but at that moment it all came together. He was born. He was healthy. He was safe. He was ours. The entire thing is amazing and I hope to never forget the sights, sounds, and feelings associate with it.

Some of the next steps were easy… rest. Some were hard… decide on a final name. Elaine and I have had an unofficial list of names for a few weeks but there were no clear winner. One day it would be “this one” and the next it would be “that one” and then our opinions would switch. It was never a source of contention between the two of us- we had good a few names that we both liked and picture using. You’ll remember that Mason only liked the name Lucas. He was set on the name and regardless of the situation his opinion never wavered. We used his opinion and came up with… Caleb Lucas.

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After two nights in the hospital we were able to come home and celebrate Mason’s 2nd birthday. (Unbelivable how that happened so fast!) It was great to finally be in our own space and start adjusting to life with a toddler and a newborn. A BIG thank you to friends and family for your help with the transition. The companionship, meals, cleaning, and baby sitting have been crucial in our sanity and welfare.

Welcome to the family Caleb.

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Autumn fun

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Before Autumn slips away into Winter I wanted to post some more photos from our trip to the pumpkin patch.

This year we went to Lane Farms in Goleta and got a chance to buy a pumpkin, pet some farm animals, and buy one jar of apple butter and one of pumpkin butter. It was a big first outing for the four of us and really glad that Ken and Ida could join us in the fun.

Trips like this continue to be more fun as Mason grows and develops. He wants to do this, that, and redo it over again. He loved seeing the animals, going on the hay ride, leaping off bails of hay, and picking out his baby pumpkin to take home.

Enjoy the photos! We will also get a Caleb birth post up soon (relatively)

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