Monthly Archives: June 2010

Tuesday June 29, 2010

We celebrated our 10 year anniversary this month, and decided a celebratory trip was in order.  While “two weeks in Europe” had a very nice ring to it; 3 young children and a house payment made that idea a little unrealistic.

Instead we opted for a closer destination~ two days and two nights hiking and camping at Pt. Reyes and 2 days/nights at the Claremont Hotel in Berkeley.  Justin has taken up hiking over the last few years and I’ve always wanted to go with him but pregnancy or nursing usually prohibited my going.

 He planned the hike carefully.  Picking the ideal beginners trail, packing as many comforts as he could stuff in a pack and carry on his back, and made sure to have plenty of yummy snacks to munch on.  He even bought me a Nook (an electronic reader) and loaded a bunch of books onto it for me to read.

Wednesday afternoon we pulled into the parking lot near the trailhead.  Already our trip was looking promising.  The parking lot was surrounded by wooden fences, a meadow and wild flowers.

Our packs.  Justin kept mine to a very easy load of 20 lbs.  Plus we only hiked a little over 2 miles with all our gear.

Us, looking fresh and ready to go.

We set up camp late that afternoon and then went down to the beach.  It was gray and cold the entire trip, but the cold dampness couldn’t compare to the loveliness of our surroundings.

Getting dinner ready.  Dehydrated mac ‘n’ cheese… yum!  Actually is was pretty darn good.

The next morning we woke up to thick mists and heavy water drops covering our little tent.  It was so cozy and warm inside though.  I slept like a baby all nestled down in my warm sleeping bag.  Justin carried our double sized air mattress just to make sure I was comfortable.

Everything was dripping with fat water drops.

Our breakfast.

Until this moment I never appreciated how perfect, a hot cup of slightly sweetened Earl Gray Tea, truly is.  Or how woefully inadequate 8 oz is when you are cold to the bone.

Never the less we packed our water bottles, our lunch, and headed out. 

The brisk walk soon pushed away any thoughts of being cold.  The wild flowers where enchanting.  I know that sounds cheesy but there is no other way to describe them.  I spent the better part of the hike bent over staring at the ground, and would have to remind myself to look up. 

Not far into the walk we ran into a doe and her very curious fawn.

We made a detor towards Sculpture Beach.  Beautiful natural bridges and tide pools.

At times the trail would almost disappear completely.  At lunch time we sat under a giant Eucalyptus tree and feasted on dried salami, rosemary and garlic crackers, beef jerky, and black licorice.

The trail turned away from the ocean and headed up into the woods.  The Forget-me-nots flanked either side of the path.

We made sure to take pictures of any wildlife we came across knowing the boys would want to see them.

Justin taking advantage of some rare cell phone coverage, to send the boys a message.

The Queen Anne’s Lace was beautiful.  I was a bit obsessed with taking pictures of it; we have several dozen shots of Queen Anne’s Lace from every angle imaginable.

Friday morning we packed up camp.  All in all we hiked 14.1 miles.  Justin says you have to be specific when listing millage.  Otherwise people will assume that you have rounded up in order to cushion your total millage.  Heaven knows I would never want to be accused of exaggerating

I love this picture of Justin.

It was the perfect trip~
In case you are wondering the answer is yes… I did walk into the Historic Claremont Hotel looking just as you see me in this picture (well minus the pack).

Our cozy little room.

I didn’t get a lot of pictures of our time in Berkeley.  We shopped, ate at nice restaurants, watched a movie, slept in, went fabric shopping at this amazing store, sat on benches drinking coffee and reading books…

The little bakery we bought our pastries from in the morning. 

It is getting late and my spelling and grammar is worsening by the second, so I will say “good night”.

Friday June 18, 2010

While we were gone our little garden was thriving.  The corn and the sunflowers were at least a foot taller than we had left them.  Unfortunately, in our absence, the weeds also happily took over the garden.  One night after supper I went out to tame the weeds with my three helpers in tow.  While the boys played on the swing set Eliza played in the dirt.  For some reason we have the reddest, fattest little ladybugs in our garden.  I picked one up and let it wander across my hand.  Eliza was delighted so I held it up to her hand and let it crawl over her pudgy little fingers.

She stood so still as the ladybug traveled from her hand, down her arm and onto the hem of her dress.  She was delighted!

Jude soon joined the fun.  He and Eliza looked for more ladybugs as I got back to my work.

Gideon was loving his seat on the swing.

I’m excited to have fresh cut flower in my house this summer.

The evenings have been so lovely this week.  The wind has died down and the temperature is so mild.

.: Nifty Note Cards :.

I was rummaging through my cupboards the other day looking for a note card to slip into a present, but all I found were a bunch of mix-match leftover Christmas cards.  That afternoon, after I put the kids down for nap, I headed to the sewing room to make my own gift cards.  It was so fun and easy.  If you would like to make some for yourself here is what you will need~

1. Card stock, in random shapes and sizes.  2. A variety of small material scraps.  3. Trim (optional but fun).  4. Scissors  5. Thread  6. Glue  7.  Heat ‘n’ Bond 8. A sewing machine

I started by ironing the heat and bond onto the back of the fabric scraps.  I traced my shapes onto the Heat ‘n’ Bond paper and cut them out.

Be sure to peel off the Heat ‘n’ Bond paper.  Then place the wrong side of the material down onto the card stock and iron in place (keep the heat level of the iron on the “wool” setting)  Iron in place for just a few seconds.  If you don’t have any Heat ‘n’ Bond you could secure the material to the card with a glue stick.  I like using the Heat ‘n’ Bond because it really holds the material in place and it keeps the edges from unraveling.

Sew around the edges of the shape.  My machine didn’t mind sewing through the paper at all and it was very easy to navigate around the shape.  The stitching provides a fun and unique touch to the card.

If you want be able to write on the back of the card you will need to attach the sewn card to another coordinating piece of card stalk.  You can use any kind of glue but I really like this “Best Test” glue.

Have fun!  Use fabric that has built in patterns, like flowers, birds, or hearts.  Embellish with trim or use the zig-zag stitch to add a boarder around the card.

You can keep a stack on hand to put on top of baby shower or birthday gifts.  Or make sets to give as gifts.  I thought a set of bird themed cards would make a darling gift.  I used letter stickers to add little sayings to the cards.  Most craft stores sell packages of pre-cut card stock.  The packages usually come with a variety of colors and sizes.  The sets are very reasonably priced, and work perfectly for this project.

There are so many fun applications to this project.  You can make Christmas gift tags, bookmarks, card sets, you could even frame them and hang them up as art.  There are so many great children’s fabrics, it would be easy to make a grouping of pictures for a child’s room or a nursery.

Tuesday June 15, 2010

It was sort of a spur of the moment decision.  My husband mentioned that he would be going to Tucson for a week long conference.   We lived in Tucson for 2 years while Justin attended the University of Arizona, and it sounded like fun to take the kids back to our old stomping ground. 

We packed the van up and left Saturday night after dinner, and drove all through the night.  The next morning when we arrived in Tucson, it was a little too early to check into the resort so we decided to take the kids to the Tucson Desert Museum. 

So there we were, having only managed to sleep a few hours, walking around in 105 degree heat with three excited children.  They loved the Desert Museum.

Making sure she stayed shaded and well hydrated.  Grandpa R. picked this hat out for Eliza and I just love it!  She does too.  She wore it all week long.

Up close and personal with a rattle snake.

When someone says “desert” most people picture miles and miles of bleak, dry, nothingness.  But that’s not what the desert around Tucson is like.  It has amazing mountains and foothills, so many beautiful colors, plants, and animals.

We escaped the heat for a while and went to watch an animal show in the air conditioned theater.  Jude surprised me and volunteered to help during the performance.  He’s the little guy at the end holding up the dolphin’s tail.

After lunch we checked in to the hotel and got settled in.  This is the view from our window.

The next morning Justin started his week-long conference and we headed to the zoo.

Most days I packed picnic lunches.  We would spend the better part of the day exploring Tucson and get back to the hotel around 2:30 or 3:00, just in time for naps.

We went to our favorite steak house for some good smoked B-B-Q.  It’s located in a little western town, complete with a train, a small main street with old-time shops, and nightly stunt shows.

The children made themselves right at home and we quickly fell into a home-away-from-home routine.

The highlight of each night was after dinner when we would all go down to play in the pool.

We stayed at a very nice resort and I was concerned about having three young children disturbing other people’s relaxing vacation, but everyone was so friendly.  Total strangers would strike up conversations with me, play catch in the pool with the boys, and fuss over Eliza.

Most mornings we ate yogurt and muffins in our hotel room but Thursday morning I splurged for coffee and breakfast at Starbucks.

Because the heat was more than the children were used to, we took advantage of as many indoor activities as we could.  The Tucson Childrens’ Museum was amazing.  I forgot my camera so I don’t have any pictures but the kids loved it!  We went and saw a magic show at Bookman’s Used Book Store and spent a good bit of time playing at the play ground in the Tucson Mall.

The week was almost over and I had not attempted taking the kids to the pool by myself, but we had run out of things to do in town so I decided to give it a try.  The Resort staff down at the pool were wonderful.  The kids fell in love with Miss Charity who worked the pool-side stand.  She made sure the kids had plenty of water toys to play with, and treated them like they were her own.

The only thing that got the boys out of the pool was icecream time.  Every afternoon there was “Ice cream Hour” by the pool.

We took the kids on a tour of the University and showed them the Optics building were Justin spent 2 years getting his Masters degree.

The got to pick out hats at the UofA book store.  I think he’s pretty cute!

And we went to our all time favorite pizza place!

This is the poster that Justin put together and presented on at the conference.  He’s pretty amazing!

The last day we took the children for a hike around the tails behind the resort.  There are some beautiful trails that wound around the foothills and led up to a small waterfall.

It was an wonderful, exhausting, amazing, and memorable trip.  It is one of the supreme pleasures of being a parent; being able to share new experiences with bright-eyed, eager young children.


Monday June 14, 2010

Vacations pre-children were always so… restful.  Not as exciting but oh-so restful.

I am operating on very few hours of sleep, but it is good to be home.  It’s good to be able to put the children in their own rooms and shut their doors; knowing they will not stir until morning.  It is good to know my own lovely bed, with the plump pillows and cool sheets, is waiting for my weary head.

We have been in Tucson for the last week, soaking up the sun, swimming, eating, and exploring the desert.  I have loads of pictures waiting to be uploaded, but those will wait for another day.   For now my thoughts are turned towards my Summer to-do list~

~Replant the pots on the front porch
~Start using the rowing machine for what it is intended, instead of a large purse rack.
~Eat more strawberries
~Take the kids to the Farmer’s Market
~Make kitchen curtains
~Sew a skirt with a zipper *gasp*
~Paint the bathroom
~Play kickball with the boys
~Stop being so hard on myself
~Make corn cakes

I will leave you with one teaser picture from the trip

I was trying to convince the boys to try the “bat ears” on.  They would have no part in such silliness.  They are only 5 and 3, but I am all ready embarrassing them.  Oh well… the way I see it; if you’re not occasionally embarrassing your children you’re not doing something right.

Good night