I'm dropping in to let you know about Shutterfly's "Long Live Summer" Facebook photo contest. The contest runs through August 8th and you can upload one photo a week according to the weekly theme. Follow this link to "like" Shutterfly on Facebook and start uploading your photos. The themes are as follows:
Week 1(7/9): Americana
Week 2 (7/16): Great Outdoors
Week 3 (7/23): Water Fun
Week 4 (7/30): Sports & Activities
Week 5 (8/6): Parties & Celebrations
Now let's talk about the prizes since it's a contest after all...
There are instant win prizes just for submitting a photo
Up to five photos a week will be selected to be featured on the Facebook fan page and will be awarded a $500 Shutterfly gift card and a copy of the new Lonely Planet travel photography book
The Grand Prize is a four night trip for four to the Bahamas and a professional photo shoot to commemorate your trip!
You know you're uploading gobs of summer pictures right now anyway, might as well be rewarded for it. So have fun and good luck!
My calendar tells me that I haven't posted in 35 days, which is a record length between blog posts, and that is so crazy to me. I didn't plan on taking a break from blogging but, with everything that has been going on, it has definitely been shoved to the back burner. The last month has been nonstop full of planning, packing, house hunting, worrying, celebrating, and trying to squeeze all the living we could into our last weeks in San Diego. So much activity and emotion has been packed into every day that it has been overwhelming to even think about trying to recap it all, not to mention I am completely drained physically and emotionally. But I feel that it would be a total disservice to a blog called Southerners in SoCal and to the life we had there to neglect capturing the final memories we made in a place we loved so much. Therefore and henceforth I shall attempt to recap the last month's mayhem in one ridiculously long post. Have no fear, I do not expect my readers to actually read this entire post, although you're obviously welcome to if you're really bored and need something to do say at the doctor's office or on a layover at the airport. But, no, mostly this post is simply for mine and posterity's sake.
We tried to squeeze in as many playdates as we could the last few weeks. It was so hard thinking about moving away from my first mommy friends. Something as huge as learning how to be a mom forms a strong bond between women and to give that up was heartbreaking.
We made sure to make it to all the library story times with Rachel and Lexi...
We had Amber, Henry, and baby Tempe down from La Habra for one last cousins playdate...
We got together with Lien, Dean, and new baby Adam a couple of last times...
We saw a lot of Rachel and Lexi. We had been getting together with them at least once, usually twice, a week for the last year so we wanted to pack in as many memories as we could with them in the last weeks. Wilder and Lexi adore each other and it was really hard on Rachel and me to think about them not growing up together.
We made one last trip to the beach...
There were two teenage girls laying out like this
on beach towels so I think the babies thought
that's what they were supposed to be doing :)
We got the hubbies together for a family trip to Belmont Park. So fun!
Wilder thought the boats were awesome...
He also thought the carousel was awesome...
He did NOT think the Crazy Submarine was awesome.
In fact he turned a little green, poor thing...
Watching the surfers at the Wave House
Paul had been working a ton trying to finish up his thesis so Wilder was ecstatic to have him with us that day... Sweetest picture ever!
The Taylors heart the McCollisters
One evening after story time Rachel and I took the babies to dinner at the Mexican restaurant at the little airport across the street from the library. Best idea ever. Wilder and Lexi were completely mesmerized watching the planes land and take off.
Rachel invited Wilder and me over for dinner one night when Paul was working late. We enjoyed tacos made with Frank's delicious beer can chicken and the kids had a blast playing in the pool and the sandbox and chasing each other deliriously around the house.
At the end of the night they both somehow ended up
with one of Lexi's shoes on their right foot. Silly babies :)
We made a lot of trips to one of our favorite places, the dog park...
We celebrated our five year wedding anniversary with a low-key dinner at one of our favorite restaurants...
We had a wildly UN-successful yard sale...
(But met some very interesting characters that day)
Paul spent hundreds of hours working on his thesis...
The weekend before graduation we had a BBQ at a park for our San Diego and school friends. It was such a fun, low-key evening -- the kids wore themselves out on the playground and everyone had a great time talking, laughing, and eating. Wilder of course installed himself at the center of the crowd and hammed it up.
This t-shirt totally cracks me up :)
Wilder is obsessed with razor scooters and was so proud that he learned to ride it by himself by the end of the night!
Drawing in the sand
Doing "handstands" with Lexi
He decided he needed a cold one after all that playing ;)
We celebrated Father's Day with lunch and new golf clubs and shoes for Paul. It was a little hard on me because I was missing my dad but I tried to focus on making it a good day for the man I'm so lucky to have as the father of my child.
Wilder simply adores his silly Dada :)
We had Wilder's last checkup in San Diego with our doctor who we just loved. She was always so sweet with Wilder and so encouraging. The appointment was just a developmental checkup, no shots thank goodness. They asked if he was saying at least 10 words and I just had to laugh because Paul and I had made a list a few days before and came up with almost 120! He was right on track with growth at 30.25 lbs (95th percentile) and 33 inches tall (75th percentile).
The next week was spent finishing up Paul's thesis. Luckily my mom arrived to help with Wilder, which freed me up to help Paul and work on packing.
Wilder loves to bring me flowers and when
I exclaim how beautiful they are and put
them behind my ear he always makes the
sweetest little excited face. Love this boy!
Ready for the gallery (finally)!
Friday, June 22, was the start of our graduation celebration weekend. The school hosted a gallery to show off all the students' thesis work. You could just feel the jubilation and relief from the students who had given their lives to their projects for the last year and the pride from their families and friends. We were excited to have my mom and Paul's dad and his girlfriend in town to ooh and ahh over the results of Paul's hard work.
And we all know how much Wilder loves a crowd so he had a blast of course
SO proud of this guy!!!
Saturday was the day we'd been waiting for and working toward for three years -- graduation! It was held at the Salk Institute in La Jolla and the ceremony overlooked the ocean with seagulls and parasailers soaring in the background. It really could not have been more beautiful and everyone there was completely electrified with excitement and joy. It was such a special, emotional day. I don't think I've ever been more proud of Paul. I can't begin to tell you how hard he worked in pursuit of his Master's and he totally deserved to graduate as salutatorian, which he did! That day was the perfect culmination of our time in San Diego.
Getting his diploma!
Hey there, graduate!
Melt my heart... He stopped to kiss me as he walked out :)
One proud dad
Wilder thought Paul's regalia was quite hilarious
The valedictorian, school president, and salutatorian
Paul and his buddies
The celebration didn't stop there. We went out with Paul's school friends that night to one of our favorite restaurants where we splurged on bottle service and had a great time laughing and dancing. It was really emotional for Paul leaving that night because he knew it would be the last time he would see those guys for a while. They had spent basically every day together for the last three years and had become a really tight-knit group. But that last hoorah was the perfect way to say goodbye.
Shaking his booty :)
The next day was our last day in San Diego. Ugh. Sooo emotional...
Totally random but a former roommate of mine from
college who I hadn't seen in six years was in
town so we went to lunch with her. It was so
funny and nice to see her!
Enjoying some downtime on our porch.
Trying to get the whole family in a picture is an exercise in futility but I had to make us at least try, haha ;)
Saying goodbye to the house we brought Wilder home from the hospital to.
Saying goodbye to the Pacific Ocean.
Ocean Beach Dog Beach is the first place Paul and I went when we arrived on the West Coast 3 1/2 years ago and one of the last places we visited.
Wilder did surprisingly well with the whole packing up our life thing. I was so worried that he would freak out and not understand what was going on. But, well-adjusted baby that he is, he just went along with the new experience and made the best of it. He especially loved the piles of boxes that were scattered about the house for weeks and the box forts they got turned into. I think it also helped that we made sure to be extra sensitive, attentive, and loving toward him and kept our routine as normal as possible as far as meals, naps, and playdates went.
Eating lunch in the empty living room
Babies love a good mess ;)
"Helping" take his crib apart
Playing in one of our U-Haul U-Boxes
And then it was time to get on that airplane with our one-way tickets to Tennessee. I honestly never thought I would move back to my home state and, although I'm excited about Paul's job opportunity and I know that this move is the right thing for our family right now, getting on that plane and knowing I wouldn't be coming back was so hard for me. I loved our life in San Diego and who I became there and I have so much emotional attachment to it because of all the firsts Wilder had there so I definitely watched the city disappear underneath us through teary eyes and with a heavy heart. Luckily Wilder was a perfect angel the whole day traveling so that made it a little easier...
And we came home to a very warm welcome and have so been enjoying time with our families so it has made the transition a lot less bumpy. Although I will say the weather has been less than welcoming. What the hell, 100+ degrees??
I really don't know what the future holds for this blog. I started it two years ago because we were so far away from all our friends and family and I wanted to keep them up to date on our lives. But now that we're so close to everyone I kind of don't want everybody to know all our business, haha! I'm sure that sounds bad, but, oh well ;) So anyway, here's to new beginnings and many more good times ahead. Thanks for reading!