My Reasons

My Reasons

This Is Where It All Begins

This Is Where It All Begins

Monday, June 30, 2014

california or 5, 6, and 7

Friday morning, Ben, Mary, Sam, Uncle Sam, his kids, and Julian and Lonnie all headed out for a backpacking trip.

I stayed behind with Luke, William and Sherean.  Hiking and backpacking overnight don't really jive with being this pregnant.

Once the troops were out the door and on their way, Sherean and I loaded up the kids and headed to the store.

We bought some swimming stuff, some snacks, and I bought our baby girl in utero her first few outfits!  They are absolutely adorable and made me really, really excited to meet her.

Then, we headed off to a swimming pool.

There are not words to even describe how much fun Luke and William had there.  It was awesome!

They went nuts in the splash park section.  They ran all over the place, laughed their heads off and had a blast.

Then we went over to the pool where they jumped in and out of the water over, and over, and over, and over again.  I couldn't get pictures of Luke in the pool, because I was too busy catching him and chasing him.
I did get a few pictures of William trying to swim.

When the pool closed, we walked next door to a park, to let them continue to play.  Unfortunately, Luke pooped, and he was in a swim diaper, so it ran down both of his legs and into his shoes.
After a fast bath in the sink of a park bathroom, we wrapped him up in a towel and headed back to the house.  The kids were tired by this point anyway, and so were the adults, so we called it a day.
We ate dinner, rested and played a while longer until bed time.
The next day was pretty low key for those of us at the house.  My pregnant body was feeling the aches and pains of such a huge week and so much running around.  I was beat!  The kids were also tired and content to just rest and play with toys or watch shows.  Luke began struggling from the long trip, so it was kind of a long day of trying to keep him happy.
The backpackers, on the other hand, were doing a big hike back down the mountain, fishing, and driving back.
They did a pretty hard hike the day before up to the camp, but according to Ben, Mary and Sam did it, and learned a lot along the way.  They fished for their first time, and Sam caught one!
They played in the lake, ate yummy food, snuggled in the tent together, played with cousins, and made some really good memories.

They came back completely filthy, exhausted, and with grins on their faces.  I am so glad they got to have this experience, and we have plans of lots of backpacking trips for our family in the future.
Within minutes of them arriving at the house, we rushed to get them all changed and somewhat clean, and blasted out the door to meet up with Tosh, Ben's best childhood friend, who was waiting to see us at a restaurant about an hour away.
We ate at a pizza place and talked with Tosh and his family.  Mary and Sam were exhausted, and Luke and William were restless, so it was a bit of a juggle, but it was worth it.  It was really neat to see Ben with such a close friend, and to watch them recall childhood memories and experiences.
After meeting with Tosh and his family, Ben drove us around his neighborhood where he grew up.  We saw his old house, his school, the hills he caught lizards in, and a few other things.  We grabbed some ice cream on the way out, and then headed back to the house.
We got back to the house really late, so we just crashed.
The next morning we got up, packed and started saying our goodbyes.  It broke my heart to see the sad looks on my kids' faces as they said goodbye to their cousins, and to such a fun trip. 
A few things happened to delay us getting out in good time, so ended up leaving pretty late.  We finally arrived home in Heber at 2:30 this morning.
We had a wonderful trip, had great experiences and made unforgettable memories. 
We plan on doing this trip every summer, and are already anxious to go back next year.
California or bust!

california or 4

Thursday our family decided to head off to San Francisco.  On the way, we decided to stop at the Jelly Belly Factory.

Oh yeah...there I am, sporting that jelly belly of my own.

I love that place!  The kids thought it was really cool too.

William thought the car they had outside the factor was "super cool!" 

We went through the factory and did the tour.  Luke yelled "vacuum" through the whole tour.  He calls any type of machinery a vacuum, and we saw lots of machines.

The tour was pretty interesting, and the factory is set up so cute.  Not to mention, it smells incredible in there!

After the tour, the kids got some smashed penny souvineres, and of course, we had to get a bag of Belly Flops.

What a cool place.

no Luke in these pictures, he was in the stroller eating jelly bellies

After the factory, we drove over a bridge that the kids thought was amazing, and into San Francisco.
The size of that city will never cease to amaze me.  It really is a concrete jungle. 

Our first stop was the Aquarium of the Bay, on Pier 39.

The aquarium turned out to be one of the biggest highlights of our trip.  It was so cool!  The kids hollered and laughed and were so excited through the entire thing.  It really was amazing.

Mary's bedroom is an "under the sea" theme, and she has had a goal to be a marine biologist for a long time now.  The aquarium was a wonderland to her.

Luke's favorite part was the lights and the vents...of course.

Sam was so amazed with the size of the Tiger Sharks


My personal favorite.

We walked through tunnels, where the fish were all around us.  VERY cool!

Touching the fish

After the aquarium, we walked along the pier and checked out all of the sights. 

We watched some cool bands, and even a one man band.

We got a little turned around at one point, and ended up doing some serious walking.  The kids were good sports.

The kids' eyes were opened a little with the homeless population there and the huge variety of personalities, races, and talents.  It was great for them to experience all of that.

After grabbing more sweaters and a diaper change back at the car for Luke, we went to a restaurant on Fisherman's Warf and had clam chowder and sour dough bread.  SO good!  William literally started falling asleep in his chair.

We decided to walk back to the car and drive around for a while, before heading back to Sam and Shereans.  I was very impressed with Ben's navigation skills.  I would have an absolute panic attack trying to navigate that place, but Ben did great.  Go Ben!

It sure is an amazing city.  It is such a cool place to visit.  The drive home was pretty cool with all of the lights, and the bridge lit up over the water.

We got back late and called it a night.  Yet another day well spent.

california or 3

Wednesday morning, we all got up and got ready to go to the beach.  This was one of the things that my kids were very excited about.  Ben and I were excited too!

We said goodbye to Dan and his family, and they went on their way to go see her family.  Ben's brother Sam went to work as well, so it was our family, Sherean, her kids and Julian and Lonnie, some of the other cousins that were staying with Sam and Sherean for a while. 

We all piled into the cars and took off.  Of course, the kids traded cars and seats, so they could all travel with their buddies.

When we got there, it was foggy and pretty chilly!  We decided to eat first and wait for the fog to burn off.  We ate at this little place right next to the beach.  It looked like a dive (ha, no pun intended), but it was crazy good!

Another car load went to another shop to rent wet suits and boogie boards.

The cooler weather decided to stay, but we chose to stay at the beach anyway.
It was pretty cold, but we all had a lot of fun. 

Mary boogie boarded for the first time, her cousins were great teachers...
Mary and Alina were inseparable the entire trip.  They were so cute!

Mary's first time riding in a wave...she was all grins and giggles
They caught sand crabs...

Sam was FREEZING, but tried to smile
We built sand castles...

Luke played and played and played, and got filthy from head to toe.  It was awesome!

Luke showing me the sand he got in his mouth.  Later, it transferred into his diaper.  ;)

Ben even braved the freezing water, and ran in for a dip. What a stud muffin!

Once we were all done at the beach, we went back to the yummy food place for some humongous ice cream cones.

I even took a small bite of one, and they were really yummy.

By this point in time, everyone was pretty tired, so we piled back into the cars, and drove a couple hours back to the ranch.  It was a chilly day at the beach, but it was a great day at the beach.  We were all very glad we went.

Once we made it back to Sam and Shereans, it was time to play with Sugar and Cinnamon, the horses.
Mary and Sam had been looking forward to this for a long time.  I am so glad it all worked out so they could ride them.

First, they let all of the kids pet the horses and get used to them.  William and Luke didn't want to ride them, but they sure loved watching them and petting them.

Then, Sherane gave Mary and Sam a small lesson on how to lead a horse and get comfortable with them.

They rode bare back, which the kids thought was pretty cool.  Sam was so sure that he was just like an indian.

Once Sam was done riding the horse, Mary wanted to keep going.  Ben also wanted to ride for a while, so Mary and Ben rode around together.  It was really special to see them out there together.  I am so glad they had that moment.  Oh, and check out the AMAZING sunset!


Mary was so in love with the horses.  It was hard to keep her away from them.  The day we left, she ran out the door to say goodbye to them, and came back with tears.  It broke my heart, but made me happy that she finds so much joy in animals.  Maybe someday...

That evening, the kids played with their cousins out in the trees and hideouts until bed time, and then we all zonked.  Another day well spent.