Is it still 2020?

News is, is that our city may be heading backwards in terms of Covid cases. Mother nature is doing her 2020 thing and then we have the political part, long story short, it’s looking grim. With that, I thought I would shine some light on the last month or so that we’ve had.

Before stay in place school started back up, we spent some long days at the beach.

The girls (with a little help) whipped up a strawberry shortcake for Shawna’s half birthday…from scratch!

Did I mention Kaili started horseback riding lessons? I will say that I was blown away with her natural ability to ride. I have no doubt she will be a fantastic rider like her grandmother.

Posting with only reins on her third lesson. #offthehorn #champ

There were a lot of pool days.

We had a couple of taco Tuesdays, with the children.

And without.

There were a many nights of singing, actually, I don’t think a day goes by life without music.

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Let’s not forget the food that we made.

Lasagna
Tzatziki
Chile oil noodles
Grilled peach with burrata and prosciutto

Finally, the first week of school arrived. All of us were less than thrilled…including the cat.

I hope everyone is doing well and is keeping healthy.

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It was my brother’s first full day in PV and we had big big plans…. stay in the pool ALL day. We started with breakfast downstairs. In the old days it would have been a buffet but now it’s more like a virtual menu. Choose what you want and they will serve it to you. Their pastries were much better than the ones we had in Cancún, actually I think all the food was better. I started the days with croissants and mimosa’s, my babe had french toast, a very strange cold muesli/yogurt mess and strawberry mimosas. The guys ate normal breakfast foods, however Casey’s friend ate like there wasn’t going to be anymore food for the rest of the day.

Once at the pool, blowjobs and donkey semen started flowing. You never knew where the shots were coming from, there was alway someone ordering something for everyone. We all took turns playing ping pong, volleyball and black jack.

The food that came out of the pool cafe was some of the best. Carne Asada street tacos with fresh spicy salsa, a Gyro that was really good and their burgers were also solid. I did order the Aguachile one day and it was quite good but I was too full to really enjoy it.

I swear we aren’t horrible at ping pong.

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This was the evening of our fancy wine dinner. We made reservations in the wine room of the French Restaurant. If you purchase a bottle of wine it comes with a special chef’s menu. We had fresh french bread, there is nothing better than warm fresh bread with cold salted butter. Casey pretty much took down two baskets himself. The beef tartare was especially delicious, surf and turf for the main was cooked perfectly and we ended with a chocolate soufflé. It was delicious and worth it if you ever decide to visit.

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The evening ended in the lobby as usual with good company and music.

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We woke to our last day in PV, we planned on spending the first half of the day in town. After a quick breakfast we called an Uber to pick us up.

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Once in town we did a little window shopping and then chose a place for lunch. We picked a place that had outside seating with a view. The weather however was ridiculous. It was so humid that my sundress felt like a wool blanket. We were the only ones in the entire restaurant which was nice but we were melting. Finally we moved inside and our waiter/chef turned on a huge fan and we could finally relax.

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I had fish tacos and they were incredible. When I asked the guy for some hot sauce he brought me out a tray of different bottles. I chose the habanero one and it was so good that I bought it. As you can see, I haven’t used it at all since we have been home.

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Since we were so hot and sticky all we wanted to do was go back to the resort and jump in the pool. One more round of drinks and pool games to end our stay. We gathered our new friends and planned on a group dinner together as a farewell meal.

Casey was staying in the preferred club part of the resort. I think the perks with the preferred club were that you got a quick and solo check-in, they also had their own hot tub and a private lounge/bar that only preferred guests (plus invites) could access. We planned to meet him in his lounge for a drink before dinner. Let me preface this next part of the evening with this; Before we hit the pool that day we had to meet someone at the concierge to arrange our ride to the airport. As we were walking away I noticed two men that I hadn’t seen before. I commented to Shawna and Casey on the taller mans legs. They were long, lean and nicer than most of the people there. Strange thing to point out but seriously they stood out to me. Fast forward to Casey’s preferred lounge. As we were waiting for our adult beverages, those same, very flamboyant men walked in. The one we will call “legs” walked right up to Shawna and professed things to her that shouldn’t be said in front of other people in a public place in the daylight. He said that he was watching her at the pool and although he was clearly not into women that she made him question his sexuality, barf. It was annoying the way he went about it but they seemed like nice guys. We said adios and carried our drinks up to Casey’s room to check out his digs. His room was nicer than ours in a few ways, his tub was on the patio and his room seemed to get a bit more sunlight. We put on some music and attempted to salsa on the patio.

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Six of us had a nice dinner at the Seafood restaurant, the sun was just starting to set making for a perfect backdrop. Since it was our last evening everyone we had become friends with planned to meet in the lobby for farewell drinks and music.

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I should probably give you some more background on the people we hung out with so the following stories flow better. We met the couple from New Jersey on our first day, they were our faves, just two really nice people. They were meant to be married in Hawaii in September but since that was canceled or postponed for the time being, they took a trip to Puerto Vallarta. {We can forget about the Idahoans}. Then there was a threesome, two girls both married to men in open relationships and a gay guy, we will call him Ken. The three of them traveled together and if I remember correctly they all worked together. Next we have Weldon, he was there solo, sober and also gay. (Not that any of that matters aside from the sober part. I don’t know why anyone would choose to go to an all inclusive if you aren’t getting free booze. That’s the most expensive part, am I right?)  Lastly we have Chris and Kory, happily married and fun. Then there was Legs and his husband Johan.

Earlier in the week when we all had dinner at the Mexican (I think that’s in the last post) we were with the threesome, Weldon and the New Jersey couple. That night was when I decided I didn’t really like Ken. He came off very narcissistic, I don’t know, I just didn’t like the guy. There is a reason I am telling you all of this. 

Back to our final evening. Since everything basically shuts down at 11:00 we had planned ahead. We pre-ordered drinks and had a couple of bottles of wine for everyone to share. We also brought down a bluetooth speaker so we could keep our own entertainment going. Ken sat down next to me on the couch and I just kept telling myself, be nice. Then he said, “so I have a funny story.” I was intrigued. Apparently after our dinner the other night at the Mexican restaurant, Weldon invited Ken back to his room for a casual connection. I don’t know what or how it came about but Weldon ended up kicking Ken out of his bed and his room after Ken divulged that he was a Trump supporter. I am pretty sure I spit out my wine, that was the best thing I had heard all week. #FUCKTRUMP

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The evening was so fun, everyone was playing music and we were all swapping stories (not Covid) and then….Legs walks in, without his man, apparently Johan was napping the day off. You guys, I don’t even know how to explain him but I will try. He struts up to our group as we are all sitting and chatting, addressing everyone he dramatically points to Shawna and isn’t shy about letting us all know his sexual feeling towards her. He gets graphic and this is where I start to get a little fucking upset, bring it down dude, not appropriate. We all look at each other like, “who is this guy”? He then goes outside and I follow him, this is when he apologized, saying that he’s sorry, he didn’t mean to come off offensive and then I got a sob story about his childhood and yada yada yada. Still chatting, Johan, his husband, wakes from his slumber and comes down to join us. Legs then goes inside to greet him. I am caught in conversation outside when I missed it. I feel like I always miss the good stuff. {side note, almost every time Shawna and I go out, if it’s near or far, shit like this happens. I know she is amazing and has a magnetic personality but seriously, every.time}. When Legs walked back inside he didn’t sit next to his husband he sat next to Shawna all while dropping his drink all over his pink pants and the couch.

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That is how our last night ended. A lot of OMG, WTF’s and so much laughter and dancing. We called it a night, exchanged numbers and headed to bed.

We had one last breakfast before heading to the airport.

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We really enjoyed our time down there. If or when we go back, there are a lot more things that I want to explore but I tell you what, it’s hard to get out of the pool.

Now it’s back to all things hard, but “we can do hard things (Glennon Doyle).”

Welcome to the Jungle

Back when I was researching places in Puerto Vallarta to stay, I also was looking into horseback rides in the Sierra Madre mountains. My mom and I took a ride there while in port on a cruise years ago, it was a great time. I was in contact with Pam from rancho el charro for months, sporadically checking in on how things were going down there. She moved down there from Ventura 50 years ago and never left. She has a ranch with a couple of handlers at the very end of civilization at the bottom of the mountains. I booked a five hour ride up to a waterfall on the Wednesday of our trip.

My brother had planned to meet us down in PV, arriving Wednesday afternoon. My hope was that we would all arrive back at the hotel around the same time. Shawna and I had coffee sent up to the room and then called an Uber at 9 in the morning,  we were ready for our day. Pam was meeting us at a library in town, not far from the hotel zone to take us to the ranch. It took a good 25 minutes or so to get to the ranch, it’s literally out there. Pretty sure a lot of the little huts and stores didn’t have electricity or running water, very rural. We joked about why she has to pick her customers up, no one would ever find the place, there was also no cell service.

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Pam’s horses were healthy and happy. After we signed our life away, we hopped on (much harder as I age, sigh) and we were off. Tomás, our wonderful wrangler led us out of town and up to the top of the mountain to a waterfall. He had his machete out making way for us to trail blaze, he would often get off of his horse to pick up fresh mangos and he also had a little snack for us to enjoy at the waterfall. My horse Lobo was sweet. His canter was a little uncomfortable and he wasn’t as sure footed on the way down. I thought for sure one time we were both going down when he slipped. Shawna’s horse, Frijolito was a pig and wanted to eat everything in his sight, but he was also hell bent on making sure he was the leader. So I took up the caboose taking in all the sights and OMG all of the big flying insects.

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The ride was long and very serene. It was just us, the horses and the jungle. fun fact, this is wear they filmed Predator.

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My ass (not that one up there) was so sore, probably would have paid off to have taken a few short rides before jumping into a half day excursion. We were hot and sweaty and ready to get back to the hotel to jump into the pool. Pam was kind enough to take us all the way back there.

My brother and his friend were already there, sitting in the lobby bar watching a soccer match. We said our hellos, went to change and met at the pool. There we had meet and greets, played some pool games and all sorts of shots were being ordered from our favorite bartender Jaime. We had Blowjobs, Donkey Semen, Sex with the Bartender and a few others that I have never heard of in my life. People would come closer and whisper “what was that you just had? It looked so good”. It was fun to yell the name and watch them either cringe or laugh.

We closed out the day with nine of us having dinner at the Mexican restaurant. I don’t want to talk down on the food but living in San Diego, it’s hard to beat what we have here. We ate, drank and talked for a couple of hours before dancing to music in the lobby.

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If you are ever in Puerto Vallarta and looking for a horseback ride tour, I would recommend you check out Rancho el Charro. You really can’t ask for anything more if you want a real ride in the jungle. I will most definitely go back.

 

 

 

The Good Wine Ending

We woke up rested, refreshed and ready to explore Sonoma. I made reservations for tastings at four different wineries. We started strong at Anaba, the weather was absolutely perfect. We sat outside and really enjoyed everything we tried, it was a fantastic start to the day.

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Next up was Buena Vista Winery. This place has history which was interesting to learn about.

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We were charmed by the look of the grounds but our like quickly dissipated. The man pouring our just OK wines took his sweet time coming back for each taste. What should have been an hour tasting, for 5 wines turned out to be 5,000 hours. Allowing too much time for us to worry about the possibility of ticks falling out of the trees and burying themselves into our skin. Our window for lunch came and went and we couldn’t get out of their fast enough. We made it back into town with just enough time to drive thru a place and grab some fries before our next reservation.

Our next tasting was in an old Sears catalog home which was intriguing in itself. I didn’t know one could purchase a house from a catalog, that is how it works right?

We had a private reservation and it was a really fun experience. The lady pouring {I wish I remembered her name} was a close friend of the wine maker and she made it very personable. fullsizeoutput_df4

Here we tasted three chards and four pinot noirs, not exactly a horizontal tasting but the same varietal from three separate vineyards, does that make sense?

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The chardonnays were delicious and I think our favorite haled from Mendocino, that needs to be a wine trip in the future.

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Our last tasting for the day was held in a cute outside patio and was founded by three former football players. Three Fat Guys have a laid back approach with some pretty decent wine.

{I may have finished a bottle of their rose before we left Sonoma.}

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Dinner reservations were made at LaSalette a recommendation that I would most definitely pass on. qiKnqxcpR5+LfWsrWkc3Lw7uO3q64SQ9qANGAWL9gi%A

Sorry for the blurry photo, we had been wine tasting all day.

I ordered the Feijoada which I haven’t had since I was in Brazil and it was delish, not as good as my moms though.

{Hint, hint mom, next time we are up there maybe I can help you make it}

We finished with a dessert wine tasting and then walked back to our hotel room for a good nights sleep.

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The next day we planned on checking out Napa for lunch and hopefully a tasting somewhere. Every winery we wanted to visit had no availability but as luck would have it, we found a place right in town that had an opening for us.
We picked a restaurant that had open outdoor dining. We ordered wine and the most amazing peach and prosciutto salad that may have caused inappropriate food moaning.

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After a wonderful lunch and fantastic people watching, we headed for our tasting.

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Roots Run Deep tasting room was in an old house in downtown Napa. We were seated on a couch on the front patio.

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The one upside to the new winery protocols is that we get special one on one attention and this place ended up being my favorite of them all.

They are the ones behind the wines Educated Guess. You’ve probably seen the bottle at BevMo or even the grocery store, I know I have but never actually tried it. Their chardonnay was phenomenal and so were all the other wines. I liked everything they poured for us and if we lived up there would easily consider becoming wine members. It was such a fantastic ending in wine country.

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Once our last sip was gone we hit the road heading down to San Ramon for the night. We enjoyed a nice evening catching up with old friends. Unfortunately our plans for the next day were halted once the governor shut down certain counties again and we were all so disappointed. We were really looking forward to seeing a friends band play and to catching up with people that I haven’t seen in years. Alas, there is always next time right?

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We enjoyed a nice lunch outside before we chose to drive south for another night on the coast. But before we hit the highway we took a swing by my old house. So many memories held there.

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Our last night of a great Cali road trip we chose to spend one more evening in Morro Bay.

We had a really nice meal, perfect weather with sea lion company and relished in what a fantastic trip we had as the sun sank low.

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Side note- This martini had anchovy stuffed olives which sounded so good but in reality tasted like something the sea lion would like a lot more than I did.

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The rest of our drive was uneventful and we couldn’t wait to get home to our girls, human and furry.

It was such a great break from the mundane and even though everything was held outside {who complains about that?} we had amazing weather, pretty darn good food and wine.

Oh, and the clam chowder award goes to Moonlight Beach Bar and Grill in Cambria

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I will be back for another cup on another day.

 

Car Tripping

Our motel in San Simeon was right off of highway 1 which was most important. Unfortunately we were met with loud upstairs neighbors. I am not sure if it was children, dogs or grown men but they weren’t sleeping when the rest of us were hoping to. When the noise finally calmed down we were able to get some sleep. The next morning we grabbed a to-go bag of breakfast items from the front desk and then we hit the black tar, not that kind, jeez.

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While this guy pondered his next to-go meal, we headed ten miles north to the vista point to see some elephant seals.

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We planned on being in the car for most of the day so we hoped for the best {open restrooms and photo ops} when we did pull off of the highway.

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We crossed the famous Big Little Lies bridge however the photo cred goes to my brother, I just stole it for the blog.

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Once we hit Carmel by the Sea, we parked for some browsing and wine tasting. We lucked out with Manzoni Cellars. Winery tasting rooms were told minutes before we arrived that they were closing all indoor operations again. This place had two tables outside, luckily. The wine was good and we left with a bottle of Syrah.

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Ready for lunch aka clam chowder, we continued north to Monterey.

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The place we really wanted to eat at had a long wait so we stumbled into the nearest place and ate a mediocre lunch. The weather wasn’t quite warm enough to stay and walk around outside so we decided to continue our drive up the coast heading for the Golden Gate Bridge.

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We left the cooler weather behind and drove into Sonoma. I called a local pizza place at the square and we picked up our dinner before hitting the hotel. It was a long day in the car so we were ready for a good nights sleep, we had wine tasting to do the next day.

Road Trippin {nor cal style}

One Monday morning we packed up the car and headed north. We zoomed through LA aiming for lunch in Pismo Beach but apparently we weren’t the only ones with that idea. Downtown Pismo was insane, especially for a Monday during a pandemic but I guess everyone was ready for a break. Not wanting to wait, we kept driving making our first stop in Morro Bay.

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We checked into a little motel and went looking for a decent meal. I made a deal with myself to get a cup of clam chowder at each coastal town we stopped in so I could be the sole judge of what town gave me the best one. A little known fact about me, chances are if I order clam chowder, there will be a glass of Chardonnay along with it. Like give a Pig a Pancake but with soup and wine. Anyhow, after hemming and hawing over menus we ended up at the Dutchman’s Seafood House. It was fine, the clam chowder was the best thing we ordered.

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After our sole meal of the day we wandered around and weirdly enough stumbled into a tasting room. Chateau Margene is parked on the main strip of Morro Bay, you can’t miss it and they had really delicious wines, pricey but good. The guy pouring was family of the winemaker, knowledgable and made the experience nice. They also had ports which had us swooning after each sip. The sleepy town slowed down with the sun so we padded back to the room to divulge in our dessert wine and chocolate.

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On the drive up we found out the new tasting procedure for wineries, and it really takes the fun spontaneity out the of wine tasting experience but alas, we are all alive to talk about it so….I made reservations for tasting at three different Paso Robles wineries.

We started at Eberle. We had a table on the patio with views of sprawling vineyards, the wine was good but we didn’t leave with anything. The highlight was the standard poodle we met as we were leaving, I may have suggested smuggling it into the car.

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Next stop was Pear Valley Winery.

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This was a nice time and the wine was pretty good. They had some sweet muscats that we just can’t find much of near us.

After a really rushed lunch and a pretty bad sandwich, we barely made our reservation at Brochelle. This was a quaint tasting room with some decent wines and a good Syrah. The girl pouring was very personable and it was fun chatting with her. Satisfied and happy we decided to head back to the coast for another round of clam chowder when we found ourselves at one more winery. Luckily a quick call from the car, Windward winery has a spot to seat us for one last tasting.

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Windward specialized in Pinot Noir’s and I am no fan of Pinot Noir’s, however either my palate is changing or we just had some really good ones. We did a vertical tasting of PN’s and they were all good, surprisingly.

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Finally back on the road, we drove through Cambria and stopped at Moonstone Beach for dinner.IMG_4613

We had a really good meal and their clam chowder was so delicious.

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We decided to end the evening in San Simeon. By the time we checked in it was time to crawl into bed and veg to the murder channel, sweet dreams.

Our next day would be a long car day taking us all the way to Sonoma.

 

 

6 Years

I can’t wrap my head around the fact that my baby is turning 6 years old this week. It doesn’t seem so long ago that she was still in the NICU.

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This one has definitely kept me on my toes. Aside from being one of the cutest f*cking kids, she is stubborn AF.

But Seriously, this face.

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She wanted a My Little Pony party again this year.

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We stayed up Friday night grinding out the cake, it’s all chocolate under the fondant, she doesn’t want anything but.

We spent the afternoon playing pin the horn AND tail on the unicorn, made the family play The Floor is Lava and Uno, we ate cake, opened presents and then she requested cheese pizza for dinner.

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It’s been a sweet six years baby girl. I love you to the moon, around the universe and back.

 

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Isolating Photos

One would think with not being able to really leave the house that blogging time would be plentiful. However, turns out that is not the case. Can’t explain it. Some days are crazy busy, some are super lazy, sometimes great food comes out of the kitchen and sometimes we eat Amy’s frozen entrees….balance.

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Art days.

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Shayne’s ninth birthday and an AMAZING cake her mama made!

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Fun with the phone apps.

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Lazy days.

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Easter fun!

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Delicious food, homemade and store bought.

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Good books, good wine and school work.

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NINE

The baby who made me a mom turned 9 years old. I am not sure how that is even possible.

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She asked for a Spirit Riding Free cake with blue layers and Funfetti layers. This cake was not my best work but she seemed happy with it.

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Her wishes for a hoverboard and plenty of other gifts were granted.

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After her self isolation party, the girls rotated between splashing, building and riding.

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It’s a hard go right now for our kids having birthdays during these times. We just do our best to make it the best we can for them.

I can’t believe my baby is nine. I love you K bear!

 

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Learning Curve

Every day we get up, drink coffee and shower. Every morning the girls have breakfast, get dressed, make their beds and head to their spot for a daily zoom meeting. Every day I do my best to get it all done; work, school, keep the children alive. The girls get in their academics, some creative art, physical activity, and we manage to fit in plenty of fun game time. We are amazing. At the end of the day we are wiped and stressed about not only how it all got done, but how are we going to do it again and again without going mad? Am I doing enough? Shit, they haven’t had vegetables in days…It’s okay that they’ve had breakfast for all three meals, right? They haven’t gone outside in two days because f*ck! it hasn’t stopped raining.

These are how the days go. There is crying and laughing, wine and sugar but we get it done and we get up and do it again, because moms are amazing!

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We squeezed in a field trip to Mount Laguna. Such a fun day!

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fullsizeoutput_b69We even brought snow home for a Kinder science experiment. Averi and I read the book “The Snowy Day” and the next day we went outside to see what happened to the snow we brought home; A built in lesson plan.

GoNoodle is a life saver.

I can really tell a difference between the days they get a good amount of physical activity and the days they don’t. They all show their hands at bedtime.

They also love the time we set aside to create. Whether it’s coloring, cooking or painting, I think it’s the only time of day that they are quiet.

Quiet is good!

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I think if you asked them what their favorite part of the day was, they would all say family game time. We have found a few new favorites. Taco Cat Goat Cheese Pizza is a lot of fun, (it’s meant for 8 years and older but Averi has gotten the hang of it, she just won’t win anytime soon.) We all love UNO, and the girls new favorite is, The Floor is Lava. They love this game,  I haven’t won yet so it’s not my favorite.

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There are some tears and a lot of “whyyyyyyys?”

As frustrating as it is being on, every.single.minute.of.the.day. They really love having us at their fingertips all day long.

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Well, most of the time.

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