Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Santa by Helicopter - Take 2

This was our second year watching Santa arrive by helicopter! Such a great family tradition! The scheduled day was smack in the middle of a week of heavy rain, but it barely even sprinkled during the hour we were on the runway! 

The boys were not interested in sitting on Santa's lap after he landed, but they were all over test riding the helicopter!

On another note, I'm sure it's the pregnancy talking, but I am about to crack! My nerves are frazzled and my patience thin. I seem to crave quiet and space this pregnancy, but I cannot even sit in a chair without the boys climbing all over it...or me...while yelling! And Ryan is as busy at work as ever. But these boys deserve a more loving mother! I will just be happy if I make it to Christmas—and hopefully until this baby comes in March! So please pray for me!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

The Adventure Summer

Ryan deserves his own adventure post, after the summer he had. It started with a lot of laps at the 24 Hour Fitness pool, which led to his "escape from Alcatraz" swim. We are so proud of him!

This was from his open-water practice swim the week before, at the aquatic park right in front of Ghiradeli Square:

The day of the race, only a week later, felt almost like a different season. It was gray and chilly. The boys and I huddled under our beach towels almost the whole time he swam. (So glad I didn't have to get even a toe wet!)

I need to teach these people to look at the camera! :)

Plenty of paddling arms! No idea which set would be Ryan!

He did it! 

Next up, it was another century ride (100 miles) in late September: Waves to Wine. This is his second year doing this event with E&Y, and his fifth century ride altogether. (For my post on the 2010 Waves to Wine, click here.) For this race, they start in San Francisco, ride across the Golden Gate Bridge, and up the north bay to Rohnert Park. 

The E&Y team. I think they're supposed to be posing crazy here. I guess that's as crazy as a bunch of accountants get!

Sometime during the summer, his mountain biking also picked up. He has always loved mountain biking, but this was the first time since we've lived in the Bay area that he has really gotten into it and explored the trails near our house. (I like it, too, because a little adrenaline rush at the start of a Saturday seems to put him in a good mood for the rest of the day!) 

Ryan, his dad, and his brother planned a biking trip to Moab in October, so he flew to Salt Lake one weekend and drove down with his dad and a friend (Charney) from our ward here who also decided to go. They had a great time and even squeezed in a BYU football game on the tail end of the trip. 

I'm amazing that he squeezed in that much adventure/exercise considering the type of hours he works. It would be hard to top that summer! Love you, babe! 

Sunday, October 28, 2012

It's a Girl!

I've already posted it on my other blog and instagram, but I can't keep a family scrapbook without including some of the happiest news I've ever received—another pregnancy! And a GIRL, no less!

Even though a lot of people were asking, I didn't tell any of my local friends exactly when the ultrasound was (Thursday, October 25), because I knew I would need a little time to process afterward. My heart has, of course, always longed for a girl. On the other hand, the longer I get to know my boys, the more I adore them. BUT, I also knew I was going to have to gear up for a third boy, if that were the case. Toddler boys are buuuusy...and loud!

The point is—I was praying for peace no matter the gender, and by the time the ultrasound finally came around (seriously, it felt like forever), I really did feel at peace with either.

Then, during the ultrasound, the tech initially said the baby looked "girl-ish"; she wasn't quite sure yet. Ryan said later he was thinking, "That will not do for Erica!" But even in that moment—with the possibility that we wouldn't know for certain—I still felt peace. As the appointment progressed, the tech became more and more confident that it was a girl, and the radiologist confirmed that it was "definitely a girl!"

It literally took a few days to sink in. I guess it still is! Pulling out the little set of girl clothes that I have helped it feel more real. With Trenton, we chose not to find out the gender, because we had absolutely no preference either way. I still treasure getting to hear Ryan say "It's a boy!" in the delivery room.

But the strange thing about not finding out the gender is that for 40 weeks, you imagine your baby as either a boy or girl. In a way, you imagine it as both. After I had Trenton, it took me a couple of months to put away the small set of girl clothes I had accumulated—not because I was disappointed in the slightest with having a boy first, but simply because I still wanted the little girl I had imagined as being a part of our family. (Reading this, I realize it may not make sense to anyone but me. Heavens, I doubt it makes sense to Ryan! But it's a part of my motherhood journey, so I'm including it all anyway!)

But now it's time for our girl! And I'm so grateful we'll have her to wear those clothes and to round out our home.

On another note, the boys are adorable about the baby! Trenton is so excited for when he can feel the baby kick. They regularly talk about where the baby's carseat will go in the backseat of the Carolla. They both are more than willing to give the baby pats and tell her they love her, and they've taken a greater interest in other babies, especially newborns, we see. The other day Chase found a pacifier and said, "This for our baby!" He also likes to say he's excited for when the baby "pops out!" (Hoping it's not nearly as dramatic as that!) At 2 1/ 2, I'm surprised at how well he seems to get it. It's going to be such a different experience this time around, having kids who are actually old enough to know what's going on when we bring our newborn home!

Last random note - It was our first ultrasound where the tech didn't say, "Wow, you have a very active baby in there!" And I even ate a candybar beforehand!

Apple Picking

I am so in love with fruit picking! This was one of the best spots we've been to yet, because it was tucked away in the hills off the coast and completely silent. I don't remember the last time I've been somewhere so quiet and peaceful. (At least, it was quiet until our family arrived!)

The apple orchard (Swanton Pacific Ranch) is owned by Cal Poly and nestled near Davenport, a little town just north of Santa Cruz. It was unmanned, but they have a fruit scale and a box for you to put your money in when you're finished picking. So charming. Afterward we drove the last handful of miles down Highway 1 to Santa Cruz, where we walked the quaint downtown and ate pizza by the Slice at Pizza My Heart. A pretty ideal family outing in my book. 

And this is what we made off with! Go big or go home, right? It's looking like applesauce and apple pie at the Nielsen house this week! Come on over! 

Friday, October 19, 2012

Fire Station Tour

My friend Desirae organized a fire station tour for us this week in lieu of our usual Park Day. Boy heaven times ten! I especially loved Chase's reaction to the whole experience. He was kind of timid, borderline nervous, but if you looked closely, you could tell he was spellbound. The picture below illustrates it so well! Pure magic!

Grandparents in Town!

My parents are here right now, Thursday to Saturday. It's wonderful to have them. As a mother, it is so refreshing to have grandparents in town to share the kids with!

We drove through the fog to take the boys to this pumpkin patch in Half Moon Bay. This place gets nuts in the afternoons, especially as Halloween approaches, but we had it all to ourselves first thing this morning!

Other highlights:

Chase running out to my perhaps sleeping parents at 6:30am, practically yelling, "Hi Grandpa! I'm all done with my nap!" (The kid has only one volume, and it always seems extra loud when he switches it on before 7am!) Then I got to listen to him giggling away with Grandpa out front while I lounged in bed for an extra twenty minutes. Thanks, Dad!

Trenton's utter enthusiasm at helping my dad with fix-it projects around the house! Big bonus: We now have a working DVD player, properly flushing toilet, and smoothly sliding closet doors!

TWO ipads in this house! At least for the few days my parents were here. The boys were big fans. :)

Chase saying a second prayer at every meal because he really seemed to like having everyone in rapt attention.

Thanks for coming, Mom and Dad!

Sunday, October 7, 2012

I Imagine . . .

. . . that it doesn't get much better than a two-year-old wearing goggles in the tub. 

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Fleet Week

On Friday Ryan took off from work early so that we could all drive into the city to see Fleet Week's practice run. Traffic was terrible, but once we got out of the car, it was exciting to see (and hear!) the Blue Angels fly over us and the Golden Gate Bridge. 

Love this one!

Demonstrating something very important. I think it was one of the jets. Very typical of Chase. 

The crazy smile was the best I could get, but he's sill the cutest! 

After we walked up to "touch" the bridge (No way was I walking it with these crazy boys! Heart attack waiting to happen!), we met up with our friends the Bartons at the beach by Crissy Field. The boys played their hearts out making a sand castle. 

My best girl, Desirae, and her cutie daughter, Natasha, looking like she's trying to give me a kiss! 

It was a packed afternoon, and the boys were out like a light as soon as we tucked them in bed! 

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Happy Fourth Birthday, T!

It's hard to believe we could possibly have a four-year-old!

Trenton turned four on Monday. Birthday celebrations started out with a trip to the San Francisco Zoo on Saturday, conveniently paid for by E&Y!

Notice our SF summer attire—full-on jackets and fleece! haha 

The bear feeding, which Chase is watching in the photo below, is a must-see at the SF Zoo!

Here's the bear right before it catches a fish with its teeth and proceeds to eat every bit of it within 60 seconds. (Or so it seemed.) So exciting for little boys! Last year they put peanut butter right up on the window frames, so the two bears would stand up and lick right in front of you. This year, the bears were on a diet, though, so no peanut butter for them! 

We sang happy birthday to him on Sunday night. Don't look too closely at his glamourous cake! (Complete with Chase-sized finger prints all over!)

T was so sweet about his presents. I love how easy to please they are at age four. For days before, he was telling everyone, "I have TWO presents!!" One was a transformer, and the other was a package of flushable wipes, since he's learning to wipe his bum now that he's a big four-year-old. A couple days before his birthday he decided to give his little present (the wipes) to Chase. I thought it was so sweet of him to want to share like that! Obviously, neither of them were too enthralled with the wipes, but the transformer was a hit. (Ryan even took it to work one day this week to get his co-workers to figure out how to make it transform! What a great dad Trenton has!)

On his birthday morning, I climbed into his bed with our previous blog books, to show him pictures of his birth and the last four years. Then we opened presents, said goodbye to Ryan, and walked over to Piazza's for a free birthday balloon and a donut.

That afternoon we shared some Texas sheetcake with friends at the park and had a ball playing with sand and water-shooting crayons.

We love our Trenton and are hopeful and excited to see what age four has in store for us!

Friday, July 20, 2012

Summer Utah Trip

We enjoyed a 12-day trip to Utah at the end of June. Highlights included meeting Baby Sierra and being there for her baby blessing, a fun trip to Lagoon in the rented 15-passenger van, playing with a parachute on the front lawn, and some great evening chats with my siblings. It is so fun that my parents' house can fit all four siblings and their families! (Rachel & Chad - you in for next year? :) Of course, Mom and Dad were amazing hosts. I can only imagine how much work it is to care for all of us for a week! Thank you!!

The Nielsens hosted us for part two, but we will have to remember to let them have us first next year so we can put our best foot forward. :) They were so sweet to watch the boys overnight while Ryan and I stayed in Park City! We also did the Alpine Slide with the boys, which they absolutely loved. 

A big thank you to both of our families! We love and miss you!

Monday, June 11, 2012

Beach Trip

After church and naps on Sunday, we headed out to the coast. It is almost impossible to resist the pull of the beach on a day as nice as it was Sunday. It is rare to not need a sweatshirt at our beaches, even in the summer, so we really soaked in the warmth.

When we first arrived, the tide was pretty high, and a couple waves almost reached our blanket, which was already backed up to the cliffs. So we got busy constructing a wall of sand as a barricade. Later we went on a walk to explore, finding plenty of big rocks to climb on and crab shells to poke at. 

Then when it was almost time to go, Ryan dug two wholes and the boys hopped right in, getting buried standing up—facing each other. Chase was so cute, saying "Dee-coo, Daddy," as soon as Ryan had finished his whole. And then he would NOT let us pull him out later, when it was time to go home.

Our boys are at the perfect age for beach trips, and this one could not have gone any better.