Thursday, October 31, 2013

The Force Is Strong {Halloween 2013}

Halloween 2013

When Colin announced he wanted a Star Wars costume like his brothers for Halloween there was really no doubt what sister's costume would be.  How many years will I really have the option of a coordinating theme for all four of them?  Got to make it count when I can.

Halloween 2013

Costumes are a part of our every week for us, but Halloween is still fun.  When the big boys were little they really didn't do much dress up play, but around the time of Eli's "Batman year" costumes became a part of our regular play around here.  We still have weeks where the costumes are worn everywhere and by everyone. I love it.  It also allows me to consider costumes, "investment pieces," when budgeting.

We have been blessed to join a couple of homeschool groups in our area and had fun celebrating with them this week.  There was park play.

Halloween 2013

And and absolutely amazing backyard party with more adorable activities than I have seen at any party.  I mean there was so much fun that this is the only picture I got, that should speak volumes.

Halloween 2013

There was trick or treating with friends.

Halloween 2013

Halloween 2013

Halloween 2013

Halloween 2013

Halloween 2013

And while we missed going out with our the cousins, I am so grateful for the little community that is being carved out here.

This year we painted our pumpkins, because this week as been insane and painting pumpkins is about a hundred times easier than carving.

Halloween 2013

Walker struggled some and wasn't particularly happy with his outcome, but at least he did it on his own.  The others, if I'm being honest are mostly my amazing (so sarcastically said) artistic talent, but the boys were not content to leave orange enough alone so momma got it done.

Growing up I didn't celebrate Halloween and as a young adult I was ambivalent about the whole thing.  But experiencing it with my kids is nothing short of magical.  I love Halloween with our little family.  It is truly a holiday for fun and for children. It is a celebration of imagination, play and sweet treats; and those things are always worth celebrating.

And because being able to look back is the main purpose of this blog:
Halloween in 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, and 2012

Monday, October 28, 2013

Golden Gate Tourist

Golden Gate Bridge

As is the custom when visiting San Francisco, we drove the grandparents over the Golden Gate Bridge. They have been before, but it has been a "few" years.

On the way we stopped by Golden Gate Park and visited the playground and rode the carousel for the first time.

The famous concrete slides
Golden Gate Bridge

Two-thirds of the boys had a blast running up the steps and zipping down the slides.

Golden Gate Bridge

And there was happy baby strolling.
Golden Gate Bridge

And also, Colin being in a sour mood
Golden Gate Bridge
{I have never met a person more in touch with his emotions.  When he is happy is so happy and he gives smiles, hugs and kinds words with abandon.  When he is upset, well that is right on his sleeve too and he is incapable of faking it for anyone.}

The carousel seemed to turn him around (ha...ha) or maybe the promise of ice cream, either way the smiles came.

Riding the carousel

After the trip over the bridge we took the parents to Fenton's because ice cream and Disney and ice cream.

I would say we all enjoyed ourselves to the last drop.


We hated to say goodbye, but were so happy to have had our week together.  We will be visiting these memories for years to come.  The blessing of time with our family is often overwhelmingly more than we could ask for.

Friday, October 25, 2013

October Beach Play

We took mom and dad to our favorite Santa Cruz beach (Twin Lakes, in case you are looking for a place to go).  We could not have asked for more.  The weather was as good as it gets.  Since it was the middle of the week we about had the place to ourselves.  There is even a little restaurant on the beach so we were able to picnic right where we were. And - more whales a ridiculous amount of dolphins and one hard to photograph seal.




Boy burying.



Shell Searching
Eli beach combing

Eli Beach Combing



Wave Challenging



Keeping our quick crawling girl on the quilt is becoming more and more of a challenge.  Having Gammy there to be an extra entertainment was fantastic.




And when the quilt is done we move onto beach babywearing:
Beach Babywearing

It was one of those days where you keep saying, "it's time to go...10 more minutes...we really should pack up..." But we just couldn't make ourselves leave.

Visiting the Aquarium

The Monterey Aquarium never gets any less awe inspiring.

Monterey Bay Aquarium

So we just had to share.

Monterey Bay Aquarium

Lydia was pretty impressed with her first trip as well.

Monterey Bay Aquarium

We love it so much we went ahead and bought an annual membership.  So expect more glowing jellyfish pictures in the future.

Monterey Bay Aquarium

We can't stay away: last year  and in 2011.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Beach House Views

Our California home doesn't have any space for guest, so we knew we wanted to get a rental for a couple of days so we could all just be together during the grandparents visit.  We found a fantastic place in Santa Cruz right on the water.  It is a shore frequented by surfers and sea life.  The scenery as well as the company was spectacular.


The surfers were there when we woke up and stayed until after the sunset.  It was so fun to watch them.

When the sunlight shown through the waves we could see the kelp forest tucked in the water.  We could walk down to the water, but it was too rough for us to get in here but the views and seashell collecting were fantastic.

For the first time in my adult life I saw whales in the wild.  Amazing.  We would see the mist from the blowhole, then the back roll and then the tail flip out.  It made for a thrilling view.

The online reports said the anchovies were running in the bay and that is why there was so many whales close to the shore and visible.

The sea otters, oh my the cute could actually kill you.  Seeing them play in the surf was so much fun.


If you care to die of the the cute check out the recent PBS documentary on the sea otters in Monterey Bay: Otter 501.

The seals were fun to watch also.  They just bobbed amongst the surfers, seemingly unfazed by their presence.

Of course with all this sea life on the surface, I felt pretty confident that there were most likely sharks under the surface.  No way I would join those surfers.

From the minute we made the reservations I was looking forward to the sunset on the shore.  We spent a couple of evenings running around and missed it, but the last night we were gifted with this beauty.


Let me know if you need the link to make your own reservation, just not for a week that we want to go back.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Taking Gammy and Grin to the Boardwalk

Apparently Gammy had never been to an actual boardwalk.  We fixed that.   We rode the rides, ate the snacks and generally enjoyed  a few hours of play together.

Santa Cruz Boardwalk

This is their favorite ride. Always.  It is a low thrill round-and-round helicopter ride.  It is where they go first and always gets reported as a favorite.  We don't understand, but we go with it.

Santa Cruz Boardwalk

Santa Cruz Boardwalk

Santa Cruz Boardwalk

Funnel cake, of course.
Santa Cruz Boardwalk

{not pictured: cotton candy, icees, and ice cream}

Santa Cruz Boardwalk

Santa Cruz Boardwalk

And because Gammy and Grin were there, the boys a bit of pocket money.  Colin was more than excited to try his hand at a few of the carnival type games.  The prizes made his night.

Santa Cruz Boardwalk

Walker and Daddy rode the roller coaster, but Eli would not participate.  Jason was working really hard on giving great roller coaster expressions, but I wasn't quite quick enough with the camera.  Sorry dear.

Santa Cruz Boardwalk

Gammy and Baby Gril - come on!
Santa Cruz Boardwalk

Not a bad way to spend the afternoon.

Santa Cruz Boardwalk