California trip part three

Sorry it has taken me so long to get this post finished and up on the blog.  Our stay at Humboldt Redwoods state park deserves it's own post because there was so much to see and experience there.


We had to do some tree hugging. The stumps that were throughout the campground were amazing, truly. One campsite had a hollowed out stump big enough for a small tent.



I have decided that there isn't enough moss or lichen in my life.





The park has a really wonderful visitor's center. I highly recommend making time to visit there if you are in the area and have kiddos.


A camp trailer made out of a redwood.


There are quite a few hiking trails in the park that are easy hikes.



There is an easy hike down to the Eel river. We enjoyed exploring it for a few hours.


Up the road from the campground was the drive thru tree. The tree you drive through was okay, but it was fun walking through the rest of the grounds. These tree houses were amazing!





I finished this book on our trip. You really must read it.

The redwoods were my favorite part of the trip. I may have said that I don't have near enough moss or lichen in my life at home. It was just perfect.  I can't wait to go back and spend more time there.  At one point Zac started talking about moving to the Pacific Northwest and asked what I thought. I told him if he ever wanted to move there he didn't need to ask, I was all in.  :)



California trip part two


The next day was Jack's 10th birthday!  We had to get a few supplies in Reno before we headed out. The boys were a little cold the first night so we bought two extra sleeping bags so they could double up if needed.


You could tell as soon as we hit California. The sagebrush scenery was replaced with trees, lots of them.


We made it to Lassen Volcanic park in time for a late lunch.  It was really neat learning about the different types of volcanoes and geologic features of the park. We did one hike, Bumpass Hell, while we were in the park.




We made it down to the mud pots and vents. It was very stinky!


We decided not to stay at the top of Lassen that night as it was already windy and cold.  We drove down the other side of the park and found a campground. 


We had to have some cupcakes to celebrate the big birthday. I was glad I threw a few candles in my backpack.  We sang happy birthday around the fire and enjoyed our cupcakes.


Jack was amazed how big the cones were.


Before leaving the campground the next day we did some laundry and took showers. Nice perk.


We stopped at Whiskey Creek lake for lunch that day.


And by that night we made it to Humboldt Redwoods state park.


This was our first view of the trees since we arrived after dark.


The boys explored after camp was set up. We also saw a fox run through the edge of our camp, but he was too quick for pictures.


Greeting the redwoods the next morning. I'll cover more of the redwoods in my next post.


California trip part one.

A couple of weeks ago all the boys and I headed out on a camping trip to California. This was my first camping trip in 11 years. Yikes. I was a bit nervous about going. My boys are all tough and like to primitive camp. 


The first day we left Utah and started through Nevada.  One of our first stops was also one of our favorite swimming holes.


We ate lunch and the boys jumped in for a swim break. IMG_6187

The boys also went on a bullfrog hunt.


And finally caught a small one.




We drove the extra-terrestrial highway.







We made it most of the way through Nevada and stopped at some hot springs the first night.


It was nice to soak before bed and to warm up in the morning before leaving.


Our next stop was Virginia City, Nevada.  It was a cute little town.


Our main reason for stopping was to visit the mine that my great-great grandpa owned and sold to Comstock.  Jack learned about it last year and loved  seeing the actual mine in person.



We didn't make it as far as we had hoped the second day and ended up staying in Reno that night. Our oldest son had a friend there that he really wanted to spend time with so we decided to get a hotel.



Day 5 San Francisco


This was our last day in San Francisco.  Our plan wasn't leaving until later that evening though so we were able to put in a full day.  First stop was breakfast at The Grove on Fillmore Street. Go there. I was so bummed we didn't find this until the last day.  Wonderful atmosphere and food. The best french toast I have ever eaten.   After breakfast we headed over to Baker beach.


From there we hiked over to the Golden Gate bridge.



It was a beautiful day and a beautiful hike.


We made it to the bridge and facetimed with the kids. Jack wanted us to try and find the building by the bridge that the Mythbusters use.  I think it was on the other side.




After grabbing a late lunch/dinner at the sourdough factory, we headed back to the hotel and on to the airport. 


It was a fabulous trip and wonderful to spend some time alone with my hubby and visit a city that I hadn't been to before.

Day 4 San Francisco

On day four  it was overcast and chilly in the morning so we spent the first part of the day at the Asian Art museum.


Boxing glove art.






After the museum, we hit a local vegetarian diner for lunch and hit the streets walking.


Eventually we made it over to Chinatown.  This is the obligatory pic. :)   We walked around for a bit and bought a few souvenirs.  After that we ended up down by the wharf for dinner. It was good. I can't remember then name, but it was an Italian place close to Ghiradelli square.  

Day 3 in San Francisco

*sorry for the unintended break.



Day 3 started with a trip to the beach. 



After that we headed up to the Legion of Honor museum.  A great museum for $10.





I was bummed we missed the big impressionist exhibit by a week, but we did get to see the Matisse exhibit.


When we left we decided to walk down the hill towards the Golden Gate bridge.


We found this little area on the walk with the stone. I love this. So much.


And we were treated to our first glimpses of the bridge.  




Day two of our trip

This day was our actual anniversary!  We left the hotel in search of coffee and breakfast. We found both at Toast Eatery. Yummy. Would highly recommend. After that we worked our way over to Golden Gate Park. The plan was to go to the DeYoung museum to see the Georgia O'Keefe exhibit. When we got there however, it was packed. Really packed. Instead we went over to the California Academy of Sciences .  It was awesome!


First we checked out the rainforest exhibit.


The butterflies were amazing, but we are kind of partial.


I loved seeing all the different geckos and taking pictures to show my gecko boy.



Next we hit the aquarium. 

My favorite was the huge coral reef tank. There was one fish swimming in a huge circle upside down. He looked like he was having fun.


We grabbed some lunch in the cafe there and then took a minute at the earthquake exhibit. We didn't go in the simulator. An earthquake is something I really don't even want to pretend to experience.  I live on fault lines, we've  had some minor ones. I'm good.


Next we went on a behind the scenes tour. I have a policy- if you have the money do the tours, you will learn so much more.   Our first stop was on the living roof. We were able to walk our a bit and see things up close.


Including these whale bones that were drying out.


Next we talked about this killer whale skeleton and what makes him so special.


Next we visited one of the ichthyology collection rooms. So cool. I am a sucker for collections.


Next was the gem and mineral vault. Would have loved to have Jack along for this one since we have been knee deep in gems and minerals lately.

Next we met an entomologist and were able to watch him work for a bit. Very fascinating. I have pics, but don't want to share without permission. :)


My most favorite part though was the naturalist room. Oh my. A Homeschooler's heaven. I want to move there. I loved this room. I immediately started thinking of ways to bring this room and the components into our home.  The cabinets full of specimens that you can look at, the books, the collections. Sigh. If we lived nearby I would bring the kids here every day. Seriously.



These learning trays were wonderful! I need to recreate these.



I took lots of pictures because I was interested in how they stored and displayed their collections.


This was by far one of the best thing we did while in San Francisco. I highly recommend it.    we walked through some of the rest of the park in our search for a bus stop. After that we went back to Fisherman's wharf and went to Bistro Boudin for dinner. It was delicious.



20 years


Last week this guy and I celebrated our 20 year anniversary.  We were able to swing a trip to San Francisco... by ourselves. This was our first trip sans kids ever. That's right we never had a honeymoon thanks to me starting a new job two days after our wedding.  This trip was huge for us and we had so much fun.  I will be sharing our trip over the next few posts.  What we liked, what we didn't and things I would recommend.


We flew out early Tuesday morning and were there before noon. It was too early to check into our hotel so we checked our abgs and set off to find some food, get our city passes and explore.  I was planning on getting our city passes before we left, but totally spaced it. We decided to go with them because they had the transportation and  a few museums we were interested in. 


We found a close place to eat and then set out to Fisherman's wharf where we could buy our passes.  We walked up and down Lombard street on our way.


We were able to buy our passes. Do some souvenir shopping and also visit the Aquarium of the Bay.   It was on the pass and we were there so we went. If I had to pay for it separately, I wouldn't have gone. I don't think it would have been worth it.  The aquarium at the California Science Academy was much better.

After a few hours, we went back to our hotel, freshend up a bit and went out to eat.  We stayed at Hotel Kabuki in Japantown. It was a wonderful hotel. I didn't take any pictures of it though.  It was close to Filmore Street which has a variety of restuarants. We went to eat at Inferno Pizza. Ugh. Overpriced and not so great. 

To be honest, the first day was hard for me. I was tired and missed my kids. 

In the next post, I will tell about our trip to Golden Gate park and The California Science Academy.



Fossil hunting

Yesterday, we had the opportunity to head out on an adventure with some of our friends. We visited two of my favorite places. The first was the fossilized oyster bed in The Grand Staircase National Monument.



The last time we were hear Jack was just a toddler. He has always been my rock guy so I knew he would love to visit here.


There are so many fossils out here, it really is amazing. 



The geology of the area was amazing.  Talisa is taking a geology class right now in college and it was great to have her along. She was able to explain some of the things we noticed.


We found this layer of coal. Which brought up all sorts of questions that we are looking in to.  It crumbled really easily, but the colors are a match to some  of the rock that my husband uses for flintknapping. 


After we had explored for a while, we headed over to the Paria Canyon. The colors in the canyon walls are amazing.


We found the cemetary.



Our last stop was the Paria River.  It is so beautiful here.






It was a beautiful day, spent with wonderful friends. Can't wait to do it again!


the geography fair

This past month Jack worked on a project for our homeschool group's geography fair. During our planning meeting one mom suggested  we pick a geographical location based on our heritage.  We all thought it was a wonderful idea and so did the kids.


Jack  did his project on Utah and our connection to a Sheriff that knew Butch Cassidy.  He really loved researching the wild west.


After reading a few book from the library, we watched Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.  A few days later we were able to visit one of the locations where the movie was filmed.






It was a really fun project to work on. It was nice getting to know a little more about the kids and families in our group and seeing all the different projects.  We are looking forward to doing it again sometime.


quick trip

This past weekend we took a trip up north, back to my hometown.


A horrible pic I know.  After we got there, we went shopping for a bit and wasted some time at Cabela's.  Then we met a friend and her kids for dinner. The boys all hit it off while talking Minecraft and we were able to catch up a bit.


We started the next day by spending some time in the pool.


Then it was off to the doctor.  The reason for the whole trip was an appointment with a specialist for Jack. He has had some health concerns for a few years now and the doctor here just wanted us to have the specialist look at him.  More blood tests for now and hopefully more info in a couple of weeks. After we were done we ate lunch and spent some time at the big mall there.  We also stopped by a local diy festival that was going on.  They did have a cool science corner for the kids with a human brain and homemade 3-d printers. 


The next day we hit the local amusement park. 





Some of us didn't survive the wooden roller coaster and we spent the rest of the day following those with stronger stomachs.


We also enjoyed the many historic buildings and displays at the park. 



The next day we spent some time at the zoo. We were lucky enough to be able to meet up with some of our local friends. 






After the zoo we took the long drive home. Luckily we live in a beautiful state to drive through.



Our summer trip

Time just seems to be flying by this summer.   This summer we took a family, except for the oldest boy, trip to Southern California. We spent 3 days on the beach soaking all of it up that we could. We also took the kids to Disneyland for the first time. 








We  didn't learn to surf like we had planned. The days we were at the beach we were either too tired and sore, or the waves just weren't there.  Next time!  We did collect lots of shells, sculpt sand, and met new friends.   It was so much fun!

Still trying to find my blogging groove and my blogging voice again after a rough year. Stay with me, I'm trying!


Vacation day 6 + 7


This was our last official vacation day.  We decided to spend the day at Sea World again. They have a deal right now that gives you a pass for the year for the same price as a day pass.  So it was kind of an easy decision to go there again. :)


First though, a picture from our the beach in front of our hotel that morning. We were right down from the naval training base and if you were there at the right time each day you could see something like this.


First stop was the animal adventure area. Jack was able to pet the alligator and learn a bit about them.

Then to a mini pool to touch star fish, anenomes, and horseshoe crabs. Jack flipped the horseshoe crab over to show everyone how they can flip themselves back over. There was also someone there teaching about the animals.


There was a sloth nearby. Points for references here. :)



Back through some of our favorite areas. Like the shark exhibit.


A couple of rides. And then it was time for our Dolphin Encounter.

Meet Razzle.

We were able to feed Razzle.

Touch him and learn a little about dolphin anatomy.


We also gave him a few commands and he did a few tricks for us.



After the dolphins...


We met the eels. I've never been a huge fan of eels. Can't say it's changed either. ;) We talked with the person in charge of them and then had the chance to feed them some squid. I passed. Jack did though and he was one of the only ones who got a bite.

That's him with the squid in the tube. Yuck.

We visited this sick sea turtle again. Then it was our to turtle reef to feed the sea turtles.


We were able to hold a sea turtles shell and learn a bit more about their anatomy. We also learned about ways to help save the sea turtles.

After that we went to the Shamu show again. This time sitting dead center in the splash zone.



Luckily we only got a few drops. Disappointing for Jack, but it is February and I didn't want to freeze.  We had a great view. After that we hit some more rides.  Then he wanted to watch the Sea Lion show again. 



That evening we headed over to Seaport Village for dinner and a walk.


We ate at one of the restaurants right on the water. After we bought some hot sauce for our hot sauce lovers here and some cupcakes for ourselves.  Then back to the hotel to pack up and get ready for our return trip.

The last morning we ate breakfast out on the patio. We had a sea gull stalking our french toast.  Then it was time to head home. The normal 8 hour drive took us 10 hours because traffic was so bad. We didn't get home until almost 9. And it was oh so good to see everyone else again. We had a wonderful time, amazing really.  We also missed everyone soooo much.





Day 5

Oops. I forgot one little detail yesterday and edited the last post. I forgot to add that we were able to touch and hold an already hatched shark egg. It was very cool.

Day 5 or Wednesday, we decided to head to the zoo.  



Jack was a bit burned out by this day. He was starting to miss the rest of the family and his routines.

I love gorillas. Once upon a time I wanted to visit the Congo and observe them.


The bus tour was a big hit, especially since we sat on the top of the double decker bus. Luckily it didn't start raining until we were done.


Going on the tour gave us a better idea of where we wanted to spend more time.  Watching the baby giraffes for instance.


And the rhinos.

The last time we visited this zoo they were just finishing up the panda exhibit.

The aviary's were a big hit with Jack.

Who am I kidding? I enjoyed them too. 



Things I don't like- sky rides. Things I like even less- sky rides when it is windy. By the time we reached the other side I was about to loose my lunch.


And right after this is when it started to pour. We stopped for a quick souvenir and then headed back to the hotel to warm up and dry out.

That evening, we headed to the Hard Rock cafe for dinner.


He really enjoyed looking at all the memorabilia.  Afterwards, we headed to the mall next door for dessert.



Happily we found it. :)



Day 4

On Tuesday,  we checked out of our hotel, grabbed one last Starbucks and headed south. 


First stop Sea World. Luckily it was a beautiful day.


We decided to sign up for the Up-Close Tour.  It was one of our favorite parts. First we went behind the scenes and talked about the dolphins and got a glimpse of the mama and baby dolphin in the back, along with some other species. 


Then we saw a sea turtle that was being treated. Next up we were able to see the labs where they test the water and  the operating room.


After that we headed over to the shark lab.


Where we saw the egg incubator.


I don't know if you can make out the shark in the egg, but it was very cool to see in swimming around in the egg. We also were able to hold an already hatched egg, very cool.


Then we were able to touch the sharks in this tank.

Someone was really thrilled about the whole thing.


I think I want a display of shark jaws in my house. Seriously. I should live in a museum.


I would highly recommend the tours. We both learned a lot and enjoyed seeing some of the inner workings. The tour guides are more than willing to answer questions. 


After the tour we had some lunch and walked around some more. It was getting hot out and we were feeling the it, so we bought some hats. Jack picked a fedora, of course. I took whatever hat would fit my big head. They only had one.


We took in the dolphin show. It wasn't like the one I remembered from years past. A lot less dolphin and a lot more human acting. It was neat, but I really enjoyed the dolphin shows. Right after the dolphin show we headed over to the Shamu show.  We really enjoyed that.


Jack was praying to get wet. I was glad we didn't. :)


We stopped by the tide pool after the show to see some starfish. Those have always been a favorite. Then we walked through all of the aquariums.  It was getting late, but we had time to make it to the sea lion show. That was definitely Jack's favorite.  He loved that you could dance and work with sea animals. :)

Then it was time to go. We checked in to our new hotel, down in the bay.  After that we headed out to find some dinner. That turned out to be a lot harder than planned. It was Valentine's day so everything was packed. The only resturants near by were expensive bars, no thanks.  After trying to find another place, we finally settled on Subway. Gotta love it. 



Vacation day 3


After getting a glimpse of the ocean the night before, Jack was determined that we spend the next day at the ocean. It worked for me. The weather was iffy at best and I didn't really want to pay a fortune to get rained out of an attraction. We headed to Torry Pines beach, which was very close to our hotel.  He was mesmerized.


It was a perfect day for picking up some shells and playing in the sand.



But someone couldn't stay out of the water.


And it was windy and overcast.


And once he got his shorts wet in the freezing cold water, he was pretty much over the ocean. :(  We decided to leave and get something for lunch. I was hoping to persuade him to go back to the beach, but it wasn't happening.   We also walked aorund a few shops in Del Mar. After that we decided to head for the Children's Pool in La Jolla.


It's a wonderful place to observe harbor seals up close.


It's also a pupping ground.




Although one of us enjoyed the spray from the ocean. :) I asked if he wanted to go back to the beach and play and he said no. I told him he didn't have to get wet, we would just play on the beach. He said, "I'll get wet, no matter what. I just can't help myself."


After that it was back to the hotel for a warm shower and some faetime with the siblings.  Then we ate at a pizza joint down the street. He watched a movie while I packed up our things, it was our last night in this hotel.

I'll continue the rest tomorrow, this post got a little long. :)  Tomorrow will  be all about Sea World.


vacation days 1-2

I'm trying to split the trip up into managable pieces. :)

Here we are getting ready to leave.  It's a rule to have a pic at the start of a road trip.  Eight hours in the car. That was a long drive. By the time we got there, I questioned my sanity in ever planning the trip.


As soon as we got to the hotel, Jack facetimed home.   That night all we did was get dinner and shower.  I unfortunately ate something that didn't sit well with me and I was up all night long. I repeat ALL NIGHT LONG.  By the time Jack woke up I was a wreck. Luckily there was Starbucks at the hotel. I pulled it together, well with the help of a phone call from hubby and we set out to have a good day anyways.  We decided to do Legoland that day since the weather was in our favor.  Originally we were planning on going on Monday and getting the homeschool discount, but it was supposed to rain on Monday.


He was so excited.  Everything was so thrilling to him. I think I have a rollercoaster junkie on my hands.


This was our first ride.


Of course we had to get a shot with Lego Harry Potter. I didn't even think to get a pic of myself.


This was his first real experience at an amusement park.


He loved the brick wall at the cafe.



Learning how to make apple fries is my new personal quest in life. Those were yummy. And look who actually tried them.


I burned out real quick and by 4 o'clock was trying not to fall asleep on the benches. So we reluctantly called it a day.

We went back to the hotel for a bit so I could rest while he played with his souvenir lego set.  


On the way to dinner, we stopped by one of the beaches right by our hotel for his first glimpse at the ocean.


He decided it was pretty cool.



And by the time we ordered dinner he was looking pretty tired too.


I'm happy to say that thankfully we both slept well the second night.



scenes from the weekend 10/09

The birthday version. For Jack's birthday we went to a nearby city to visit the aquarium at one of the hotels.  (sorry...trying to avoid search terms here).   The boy has been obsessed with ocean life for a while now and what better way to celebrate his birthday than doing something he loves.


Even better when there is a race car parked right in the lobby. Cars and sea life. Awesome!

Alex, Jack and a komodo dragon.  What we found really odd is how sweet and peaceful he looked. It looked like he was smiling.

Piranhas. We also saw some Arapiama, both of these are his favorites from the show River Monsters. He was so excited to see them in person.




Talisa and Jack at the touch tank. There were different rays and horseshoe crabs in there.







Jack, Talisa and the golden crocodile. Awesome since we just studied Thailand.



After the aquarium we: went to lunch, went to the pet store (didn't buy anything), went to the mall, then we went to a kids pizza place to play off some energy,  then it was time to head home.  It was a great day and declared the most awesome day ever by the birthday boy.  Today was spent in full-fledged recovery mode.  Oh and giving Jack his present which was two r/c cars. He LOVES them.

On the list for this week:

  • choir
  • yoga
  • corn maze and farm field trip
  • swimming, maybe.
  • Apple fest, hopefully. :)
  • a nature walk to look for leaves that have fallen
  • making cinnamon spice play dough
  • decorate for fall, yes still working on it.
  • finish painting master bath, yes still working on that too.
  • finish dining room picture frames and hang.
  • return jeans to target.
  • pumpkin snickerdoodles
  • r/c car time. :)
  • The older kids have two days off this week! Yay! 
  • hopefully start baking some goodies for Halloween now that I am getting some room in my freezer.

What's on your list?

scenes from the weekend May 29

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Jack had his first offical campout this weekend. Pictures are courtesy of Alex.  He was so excited that he was literally bouncing up and down for 12 hours before going saying how excited he was.  They made it home safe and sound and everyone is exhausted, apparently he didn't sleep the night they were gone. 

So on the list for this week:

  • catch up on sleep for everyone. :)
  • bbq's and neighborhood parties
  • Zac's birthday!!
  • tennis
  • yoga
  • park
  • homeschooling
  • water park time- haven't been getting near enough with the weird weather
  • library- oops!
  • housecleaning, want to finish some serious cleaning and the little decluttering I have left to do.
  • start working on stocking the freezer up.
  • garden time. We have tons of kale, chard, and spinach. I want to work on getting some frozen this week.

What's on your list?



October 18 2010

This past weekend we were able to go away and take a mini vacation. We were meeting our family from back east down in Vegas and we had a load of things we needed/wanted to do  down there so we decided to stay the night. It was exhausting and fun!

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Jack loved the water feature in one of the hotels.

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We were able to find lacrosse sticks for the girls. Did I mention practice started last week. So excited for that.

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The boys and I waited outside and tried to get rid of some excess energy.

We stayed in a great hotel and it even had a Trader Joes right across the street.  The kids were able to get some swimming in, we were able to spend a lot of time with our visiting family and we're pretty sure we'll be doing it again.