Wednesday, December 29, 2010

A photo menagerie from Christmas Eve and Christmas Day

We had a wonderful Christmas this year. My sister, her husband and her son are in town all the way from New Zealand! It was my nephew, Chase's, first Christmas and it was so fun to watch how excited he was playing with all of his new toys. Of course, Bella and Riley had a great Christmas too! Here are a bunch of pics from our Christmas this year. Enjoy!

Christmas Eve

Christmas Day

Thursday, December 16, 2010


Ryan has started a new venture. Last Saturday he opened a new restaurant in downtown Paso Robles called Robert's. The owners are two fantastic people who really know Ryan's worth and treat him with kindness and respect. He finally found great people to work for!

Ryan has a lot of time and energy invested in this restaurant. From drywalling and painting, to creating the menu and hiring the staff, he has done a bit of everything. Now that they are open, he can concentrate on the food (which is amazing). I have eaten there twice so far and am going back with my coworkers tomorrow for lunch.

I am so proud of Ryan and so happy for him! Robert's restaurant is off to a great start! So, go eat there and go tell all of your friends too!

Here is the link to their website (photos by moi).

Bon Apetit!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Gotta love Christmas time!

I just LOVE the Christmas season. Yes, it is full of hustle and bustle but I love to decorate, bake, shop and see the wonder and joy on the faces of my children.

Riley and Bella both still believe in Santa. I think this may be the last year for Riley but Bella should have a few years left. We have magical elves that visit us every Christmas time. Bixie and Trixie come all the way from the North Pole to spend the month of December with us. They have been coming for about 4 years now. During the day the make sure the kids are behaving and at night they go back to the North Pole to report to Santa on how the kids are doing. Riley and Bella love their elves and look forward to them coming every year!

We have been busy as usual this holiday season. Ryan's new restaurant opened last weekend (more on that in another post) and Riley just started basketball practice last week. But, we have still found time to get the house decorated, tree up, presents wrapped and have even baked some biscotti! Yum! Next up is baking more holiday cookies and making gingerbread houses. Should be lots of fun!
Here are some photos of the house all decorated and the kids decorating the tree:

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Happy Halloween!

Halloween is always a fun day at our house. The kids love getting dressed up and going trick or treating. This year was our first Halloween in our new house so we were not sure what to expect from our new neighborhood. It didn't disappoint! We had The Climers and our friend Desariee with her boys over too.
Riley was Jango Fett (I think) from Star Wars and Bella was an angel. Enjoy the pics!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Soccer Stud

It is soccer season at the Swarthout house. Riley has been playing soccer for a good 5 years. He plays for AYSO and this year he got moved up to a different league. This year, they have goalies and are actually playing their positions. Riley has not been in to soccer as much this year as he was in years past (where it was normal for him to score 6 goals a game). He would rather just be playing with his friends. Lucky for him, his best friend, Lucas, is on his team this year!! This may be Riley's last year playing soccer too, because he is now saying he wants to play football (yikes!!). We will see what happens next year! Meanwhile, here are some pics from his most recent game. Enjoy!

Playing goalie
Getting ready to "head" the ball

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Happy 9th birthday Riley

Can you believe Riley is 9 and in 4th grade??? I can't. It seems like only yesterday he was born and now he is 9!

We have a habit of throwing big, themed, birthday parties for the kids. Last year we let them choose between going to a theme park (Disneyland for Bella, Legoland for Riley) or having a party. They both chose theme park, so we had a break from planning bday parties.

This year, Riley wanted a Lego themed birthday party. I did some research online and came up with some fun Lego- themed games for the kids to play. Ryan made an awesome Lego cake and I found Lego candles online. I did all primary (Lego) colors for the decorations and paper goods. The goodie bags were filled with Lego candy and Lego soap and for prizes, we had Lego crayons (thank you Etsy).

We had 13 kids (including Bella and Riley) at the party. It was pretty crazy and the boys were wild, but we all had so much fun, especially Riley!

Here are some pics of our fun Bday party and the next slide show is of his actual birthday:

Here are some pics from Riley's actual birthday:

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Great America

This past Saturday we were sitting around bored. It was a beautiful, 3 day weekend and we had nothing to do. We were itching to get out of town. But to where? Ryan came home from work and suggested we go to Great America in Santa Clara. We were in! We went back to Jenn's and booked the hotel, bought our online tickets, went home to get packed and off we went!

It was about a 3 hour drive up to Santa Clara and the kids just watched a movie and relaxed. We got there about 8:30 or 9 and it was bedtime!

The next morning we went to breakfast at IHOP then were off to the park! The park was decorated for Halloween and they were having a special Trick or Treat event in the Camp Snoopy area so we brought the kid's Halloween costumes (all from last year except for Bella's)so they could enjoy the fun!

The kids had a blast going on the rides. I was really impressed with Christopher and Riley, who went on some of the bigger rollercoasters and all the water rides. I think Bella wanted to go on the rollercosters too but she was not tall enough. She had fun on the kiddies rides though!

It was a long, fun day at Great America. We went to dinner afterwards and then let the kid's swim in the pool at the hotel for a few hours to get the remainder of their energy out before hittin' the hay!

We drove home on Monday morning. We were all tired but had so much fun! It was a great, last minute getaway to Great America!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010


I am still playing catch up on my blogging but I am almost current!

Ryan and I recently celebrated our 10 year anniversary!! We wanted to do something special but we didn't want go on a long trip because we have a big one planned for January (New Zealand bound!). So, we decided to go on a short, 4 day cruise to Ensenada. We decided to make it a family and friends affair- the more the merrier- so we brought the kiddos and our friends, The Climers, along for the ride.

We got down to Long Beach, where the ship embarked from, around 1:30 on a Friday. We were able to immediately board the ship and we headed to the Lido deck to hang by the pool. Unfortunately the pool was closed for the first hour or so we were on the ship, but we had fun just lounging in the sun. Once the pool opened, we couldn't keep the kids out of it! They had a blast on the waterslide and doing flips and tricks into the water. We had a great dinner that night and then dropped the kiddos off at kid's club so we could go have some "grown up" time in the casino and the dance clubs. We had a great time!

The next morning we docked in Ensenada. We had signed up for a shore excursion that took us to La Bufadora, a blow hole, and then to the Santo Tomas winery. The 45 minute long bus ride to the blow hole took us through Ensenada and its surroundings. There was a great market place by the blow hole that sold everything from dresses to candy to trinkets and souvenirs. We walked past the market to the blow hole and spent a few minutes waiting to be impressed. We weren't. I remember a blow hole we saw in Kaua'i that shot up into the air and was very beautiful to watch. This one just sputtered a bit. Oh well. We spent the next few hours wandering around the market and picking out our souvenirs. Then we hopped back bus and headed to the winery in town.
The Winery was pretty neat. It was right in downtown Ensenada but the building was very old. I didn't get to hear everything our tour guide told us about the winery because I was shuffling the kids back and forth to the bathroom. After the tour, we went into the tasting room and were able to taste multiple wines. Living in wine country and being a bit wine snobby, I was not expecting to like any of them. I was a bit surprised as they were not that bad! We actually brought two bottles home.
After the winery we walked around down town and had lunch before heading back to the ship. We had another great dinner that night and, again, dropped the kiddos off at kids club (which they loved) and spent some adult time. I wish I could say we won a bunch of money in the casino but, sadly, we did not. Oh well, at least we had fun!
The next day was our full day on the ship. We hung out by the pool, played mini golf and ping pong, the kids played a few games in the arcade and we had a great time!

The cruise was short but sweet. We had a wonderful time, so much fun! We would definitely do it again, but hopefully to a better destination next time!
Enjoy the pictures!

Fun on the ship:

Fun in Ensenada

Friday, October 1, 2010

Catchin' up- First day of school!!

The kids started school at the end of August. This was a big day for us because not only is Riley going into 4th grade, but Bella started kindergarten!
Riley has a great teacher this year (we have been so lucky with all of his teachers so far). He has a few friends in his class and gets to see the rest of them at recess. He has to organise his own binder this year and has a ton of homework, but he is getting used to it all and still doing so well!

Bella has the same teacher that Riley had for kindergarten and we love her. Bella was pretty nervous the first few days but is feeling more comfortable at school now. She has a few friends from her preschool that are in her same class and has made many more friends in the last month. Bella is excited to be a Pifer Panther now!

So far, so good!

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Still playing catch up- new addition to the family!

We have an adorable new addition to our family and her name is Molly Rose!

My mom's dog, Poppy, passed away in the spring. She recently decided that she was ready for a puppy so we spent some time searching for just the right one. And then we found her!

Molly is a cockapoo (cocker spaniel, poodle mix) like our other dog Lili, and like Poppy was. We love the cockapoo breed! They don't shed, are so smart and loyal and sweet and are great with kids and other animals.

We picked Molly up at the Fresno airport on our way back from Shaver Lake (see previous post) and she cuddled and slept in my lap the whole way home. Once home, she seemed to know automatically that she belonged to my mom (Nona as the kids call her). She follows her around everywhere she goes, sits at Nona's feet, cuddles on her lap, etc. She is very loyal! She is also getting along great with our 2 other dogs and 2 cats (whew, good thing we have a big house and a big yard with all those animals!). The kids love playing with her and she has been a great addition to the family!