Sunday, September 17, 2017

Alaska 1: Eagle River

We have friends who moved to Alaska.  So of course, we had to visit!  So in June, after school let out, we headed up to the 49th state.  What an adventure!
Here we are on the seemingly urban streets of Anchorage, about to be attacked by a grizzly!
Our friends live in Eagle River, so this is...the Eagle River.  The color was striking--kind of a milky grey-green from the glacier silt.  Gorgeous, so of course Mark has to throw a rock in it.

Yay, I hit it!  Great success!
Then everyone has to get in on the action.
Consulting with the sensei
And here we are in front of our first Alaskan glacier that we HAVE EVER SEEN!  Clearly Mark and I are holding on to each other for dear life.  ;-)  

But wait til you see what we did next...(which will be my next post)

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Beach Trip Part 2

Day 2 of our beach adventure was a Morro Bay day.  Beautiful sunshine for a morning on the Embarcadero, doing what everyone does...riding unicycles and juggling?
 Abigail fulfilling her long-held ambition to do both at the same time.
 She had several successful rides, then maybe a little stage fright.
It was a friendly audience, though.
Except for some wiseguy who kept putting his hat out to encourage donations
(Daaaaad!)
 Another rousing session of goats and mountain lions
And another chilly dip as the fog rolled in, Morro Bay style.

And then a loooong, tired drive home.

It was a wonderful weekend for all of us!

Saturday, September 2, 2017

Beach Trip

This year, we became the parents of two teenagers.  That's a biggie, and we knew we wanted to do something special.  The kids wanted to go somewhere with friends, so we set up a "fund" for their big trip.  They put Christmas money and later, birthday money toward their gift trip.

And that's how we ended up on the coast with seven kids.  We rented a house, which was FANTASTIC!  I do love AirB&B and VRBO.  I'd so much rather spend money on a place to hang out than on meals in restaurants.  Except for that first night, when we did splurge on our first meal: pizza by delivery.  Because when you are from the sticks, that's a big fancy treat to have a guy bring pizza to your door. 
Then we had the birthday salted caramel brownies (instead of cake).

Here we are, the next morning...
The girls are eating breakfast, while Mark, far left, uses the telescope to spy on whales.

Check out the ocean view!

Our first venture was to Montano de Oro State Park.  We hiked down Hazard Canyon to the beach.
It was low tide, so we hit some beautiful tide pools.
But the real draw for the girls are these dunes.  They love to scramble up and tumble down.
Champions of the Dunes!

 Next we went to the Oceano section of Pismo Beach.
 The girls introduced their friends to "Goats and Mountain Lions", which is a souped up version of tag.  Everyone seemed to enjoy it.
Abigail doing a ninja goat move.  Yes, she really IS about six feet in the air.
 Mark gets endless entertainment by dive bombing the girls with his kite.
Then, the girls got in the water.  Notice that there are no other people in this picture.  That's because it was totally stinking COLD and WINDY.

One great thing about Pismo is that you can actually drive your car on the beach.  This worked well ...here we are hiding in the car and shivering as they swim.  For real.

Then we get this scene.  Totally thought they wanted to go home...
Nope, they want to go to a coffee shop right off the beach.  For a mid-afternoon pick-me-up.  Because 60 degree water can be fatiguing. 

We did have a little adventure getting OFF the beach.  We got stuck in the sand and had to push the car to get it going.  Once it was going, was I going to STOP?  Nope.  Jump in, girls...pretend you're Dauntless (at 3 mph).  They loved it.

So here is what I love about being in a house.  Going home, chilling out, and cooking burgers and dogs. 

And boy, were those kids hungry.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

She's got Hops

So...today is Mother's Day.  Happy Mother's Day!  But I want to talk about yesterday.

Yesterday was the end of a very interesting season for us.  It is called track season.  The thing that made it interesting was this kid.  (Abigail)
Abigail tried junior high track this year.  She did long jump and high jump.  Turns out she's got quite a knack for it!  Especially high jump.
She competed yesterday in the Valley Championship.  The competition was for the top girls from six counties.  She didn't place this time, but did match her personal record.  That is a win!
This is what she jumped in.  She would not be persuaded to give up her comfy old shoes for some fancy-dancy track shoes.  Or even a NEW pair of $20 Payless Champion sneakers.  No Sir!  Now that the season is over, I sincerely hope she will release these for a proper burial.

So here we are, all the people who make me a mother, saying goodbye to track season.  
And hopefully goodbye to a very tired pair of shoes.

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Nugget and Thunder

Several years ago, I was sure I needed goats. 
"They have such personality!" I said.
"I love to watch their antics!".  I may have said that too.

Then a friend invited me over to meet her goats.  I believe they were eating the wiring on her vehicle when I arrived.  So then I decided not to get goats.

Fast forward a couple years....
I do have some issues with memory.  And can be totally swayed by cuteness.
Nah, just kidding.  It was a totally rational, objective decision that goats could be an efficient way to keep our weeds down.  Hence...Nugget and Thunder.
Here they are, adjusting to their new home.
What, you've never seen a goat on a leash before?
This is a good way to let them out and about, without having to chase them.  And as long as you just follow, versus try to lead, it works just dandy so far! 

I'll let you know how our vehicles fare.

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Easter 2017

Springtime.  Easter.  Renewal.  Rebirth.

Maybe now is a good time to rekindle my blog.

I have missed it.  And even more, Mark seems to miss it.  Even though he is RIGHT HERE, living all this stuff with me.  So I'm going to see how I do, renewing my habit of telling our story in something longer than a Facebook post.

I'll start with Easter.

I don't want to blow the ending, but this was pretty much the perfect Easter.  The hills are so green and lush.  Everything is fresh and new.

Prior to Easter, of course we had the dyeing of eggs.  This was something of a challenge, since we used a lot of my home-grown eggs, which are brown, light green, and light blue.
But my people rose to the challenge, going deeper blue, green, and purple!

Next, of course, was the actual hunt. 
Here are the hunters, psyching themselves up for the "kill".  Hey...there is a $20 egg out there somewhere!
My sister Karen explains the rules.  No one listens.
Finally!  The talking is over!
We had over 200 eggs hidden in the field. 
Karen and Gail rest...after a tough morning of egg hiding.
Ah...time to take inventory!
Guess who won?  The 6'2" guy.  Plus he's crafty.
Back inside, there is some serious cooking going on.
Followed by a seriously beautiful feast!

 And then...the games.  Our buddy from Ireland, Chris, was visiting.  He taught us the game of "Lives" several years ago, and it is one of our mainstays. 
 He let Mark win a couple times
 All in all, a beautiful day of family and fun.