Monday, September 24, 2012

California dreamin'........

Spent the weekend, child free with my amazing husband. Ahhhh.........

No easy feat though....
It was only three days and two nights but my anxiety level always heightens because i am leaving my dearest most wonderful sweet friend with our three crazy girlies.  While she always claims they are great and what a good time they have, i know it is not easy.  I am their Mamma for crying out loud. :-)  Oh well, you get over it pretty fast when the thought of being alone with your husband for two nights is dangling in front of you.

Nearly missed my flight on Friday morning.  Switched purses before heading out the door and could not find my car keys for the life of me and should've given up a lot sooner and just hunted for the spare instead.  As i am frantically driving to the airport with the lovely glow of perspiration on my face, i am calculating in my head the difference i would have to pay if i miss my flight versus just biting the bullet and parking directly at the airport's overnight parking garage, which you know my friends is...EXPENSIVE!  Bit the bullet and thank goodness because guess whose name was being called over the PA?  Yes, i am running, injured mind you (which is a whole other story) to the gate.  I make it.  The flight attendant greets me warmly and says, 'We've been waiting for you'.  Yes...I KNOW!  I am flying on Southwest and they have open seating so as i board all i can see open are middle seats.  My eyes quickly find two of the smallest non-chatty type looking strangers on the plane and i apologize profusely for distrubing them so i can finally sit down and breathe.....

I am starving.  Scarf down the smallest bag of peanuts and a diet coke and dive into a book that i've been meaning to read for a long a time.  Mile Markers by Kristen Armstrong, given to me by very own 'sweat sister' and incredible running partner, Amy.  I am only half way through and i love it.  This book has made me realize even more, that running is no longer just exercise for me.  It has turned into a passion and i know it is because i am surrounded by such wonderful women who have the same infatuation.  Running is therapy.  We talk, we laugh, we cry or we say nothing....because just being together is comforting and so encouraging.......

After 22+ years, my husband can still make my heart skip a beat, even when he pulls up in the cheap rental car that does not have automatic locks and you have to manually role down the windows.  Who cares...i am with the love of my life and he is going to take me on an adventure!
We head over to Half Moon Bay and eat our picnic lunch that he has brought at the Ritz.  Yes, the Ritz!  We found a little corner of God's heaven on earth, took in His glory and i drank i beer!  Can you believe i drank a beer?  It was delicious. 
Rode over to Santa Cruz to peek at the boardwalk but realized the beach was calling us, so we headed back to Half Moon Bay to open that bottle of wine and snack on the cheese we had picked up earlier.   We then had dinner at this great little place called the Mirimar, on the beach, outdoors, with our own little fire pit and cushioned bench to snuggle up on.  It was the perfect way to end the evening.

View from our little piece of heaven on earth.


Could not even begin to capture how awesome it was to witness kite surfing for the first time.
I don't think i ever would....but, never say never!

Santa Cruz boardwalk.

Even one of the ugliest birds can be lovely....

No joke....on the road, directly in front of us at the stop light.  Can you see the cigarette in his right hand?


Awesomely handsome......
Love that surfing is not just for the young.  Probably 50% of the surfers were of this season in life.

Slept in a little and headed down to Fisherman's Wharf to experience their farmer's market.  Oh my!!!  It was huge and every person in San Francisco must've been there.  The fruit and veggies were mouthwatering and if i lived close enough, this could easily be my Saturday morning ritual.

My first time seeing a purple pepper.



No matter what they playing......
they were having fun!

Hopped back in the car and headed across the Golden Gate Bridge to enjoy the views and make our way to Sausalito, which we have dubbed the Gig Harbor of San Francisco.

Now this guy has the right idea!

Waiting for our table....
Courtesy of the I-Phone.

Our reflection in the picture window....
Just like our girls...doesn't like his photo taken either.

How on earth?
These are not glued.  I witnessed the wind knocking them over.

And the man behind the balancing act.

There's nothing like a good old fashion Schwinn.

Took a little rally nap and then headed out to Jeff's Gala for school.  Nothing like getting fancied up and having a handsome man on your arm to make you feel like the most special girl in the world.

I am a blessed girl!

No official photographer this was me! :-)
Do i really look this ridiculous when i take photos? :-)
Berkeley has quite a few characters who hang out on the strip all day long.  This is one that is there every single time i've gone.  His sits in the same spot and journals on spiral note pad for hours on end.  Sunday as we were leaving i stopped by and asked what he wrote about.  His genre seemed to sci-fi fiction.  He was pleasant, shook my hand and introduced himself as James Armstrong and said to look for him on the best seller list.
You never know......

This was last year's photo. 
You've got to give him a little credit, he is creative.

Last and final stop before getting on the plane.
Experienced our first In-n-Out Burger and friends, it was fabulous!
Look at this menu.  That is why you are In and Out!!!

I am refreshed and ready for a new week begin.
A sweet little family and two senior girl photos are on my horizon for the week.  Need photos?  I might be able to squeeze you in.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Our first ever Road Trip!

I survived it!
Friends, i'll be honest with you.  I am just not a road trip kind of a gal, but there are times you just have to put on your big girl panties, be a little uncomfortable and do things that you know will make your family happy because you are creating memories that will last a life time.

Our first stop was McMinville Oregon.  Doesn't that sound exciting? :-) 
My bestie Jenny suggested we stop at the Evergreen Aviation and Space Museum.  I knew Jeff would enjoy it, but not certain if the girls would.  Fortunately we had a carrot to dangle in front of them.  If they could endure the museum, their reward would be the enormous indoor water park situated on the same location.  It was AMAZING!  Can't even count the endless number of war planes, but the most intriguing was the Spruce Goose, built by Howard Huges for World War II. 
The water park was a fabulous way to end the day.  It literally was a downscaled version of the Great Wolf Lodge.  We closed the place down at eight o-clock with three exhausted girlies.

Spruce Goose behind us.

Look at what we followed in Oregon!  The Oscar Mayer wiener mobile!

Headed over to Newport Oregon the next morning to visit the Oregon Coast Aquarium. 

Hopped back in the van and headed toward Crescent City but not before stopping at Bandon Dunes.  It was between 5:30 and 6 pm and the best Dad in the world suggested they go for a swim in the ocean....the FREEZING COLD ocean.  Mommy tried her best to hold her tongue and those girls didn't bat a lash.  It was not a warm day friends.  The proof is by what i have on.  Yes....just another great memory being made.


Nope....not gonna do it!

She was squealing because it was still alive and she could feel it moving!
Jeff admitted after our trip that his feet were numb. 
So handsome and smart NOT to tell me while the girls were in the water. :-)
A well deserved rest after having to put up with four crazy women in the car.

I may have no shoes on, but i was COLD!
Made it to Crescent City to see the Redwoods!  All i can say is AMAZING!  I could not begin to capture God's creation in photos for us.  For me, this stop was the highlight of our trip.  Go my friends, the Redwoods will not disappoint!

Even the clover are ginormous!

Closest thing to the splits i'll ever be able to do. :-)
We had a long 5 hour stretch ahead of us to get to a small little sleepy town called Lakeport.  It reminded me of Lake Chelan and it was 91 degrees there!  Why did we not spend our entire trip there by the pool with foo-foo drinks that had silly little umbrellas in them?
We were only there for the night before we had to head out to get Jeff to school by 4:30.  Best Daddy in the world got up early to get in a little fishing for his girlies and made sure Mommy got at least two hours by the pool.  We made it to Berkeley in just the nick of time....4 pm. :-)  Part of the adventure of a road trip, right??? make every single minute of it CRAZY!

This was in our room.
The phone was attached to the wall and had a cord and it still worked!
So no....our hotel did not offer foo-foo drinks with silly little umbrellas in them. :-)

75 degrees at 10 am!  My kind of place!
Jeff only had class for two days instead of the regular four to five.  This was one of the big reasons why we went down with him for school this time.  While in Berkeley, we toured the campus and Jeff had us ride the elevator up the clock tower and low and behold, look who steps off just as we are about to get on!  MISSY FRANKLIN!!!!

Blurry?  Who cares!
This is Olympian Missy Franklin!!!!
After Friday morning's class, we headed down to Fisherman's Wharf.

Mid afternoon snack!

Why does the biggest and strongest look like she's having a hard time, when hers is the easiest? :-)

Peeking at Alcatraz

Grace got called up during a magic show.

And i love it when grown-ups do this!
Wore ourselves out completely and hopped back in the van to try and get to some silly little town called Vacaville so we could rest our weary bones because we were going to take the girlies to Great America the next morning!

It was no Disneyland, but still pretty incredible.
Jeff and those crazy girlies went on just about anything that would go completely upside down!

Drop to your death....NO THANKS!

YES....this is totally upside down and more than once!

Do you see a trend here?
If you are an Allen, you only do rides with your hands up in the air. do you top Great America?
How about surprise horse back riding lessons in Redding?  Jeff's great idea!

Thank you to Alicia Ryan, the owner of NorCal Trail Rides for such an amazing experience.
The girls were on their own after only one hour!

Not much more to share.  Stress had started to settle in.  It was Sunday and we had finally made it to Bend Oregon.  We were hoping to hang out there a bit, but we ran out of time and wanted to beat the Labor Day crazies that were also heading home. 
Arrived home around 5 pm on Monday night just to get the girls cleaned up and to bed before school the next morning!

A Summer to remember....that's for sure!

First Day of School ~ September 2012
A 6th, 1st and 3rd grader!