Sunday, September 26, 2010

so I have been walking alot lately

And when I say a lot, I mean a lot. Last week I walked over 20 miles and this week I am on track to have walked even more. We will know at the end of today. So far, I have walked 4 days and 18.842 miles. I would love to walk at least 8 today. We shall see as it is very hot in these parts.

I walk many miles around my town. We have so many great walking trails and the city really has put a ton of time into creating and maintaining them. In fact, I just noticed the other day brand new signs at all the trail heads. These signs include a map, trail mileage, elevation, GPS coordinates, trail connections, and so much more.

new signs

I am a huge fan of my town. I just love it. Small town feel, best climate, national forest nearby, and beach 2 miles away.

Here are some recent pics from my daily walks.

Blenheim Farms

horses on a trail in the hills


Monday, September 13, 2010

school days, soccer, and sleep

School has started and Julia could not be more thrilled as she has the same teacher she had for kindergarten. We just love her. On her first day of first grade I brought my camera, of course, and had her stand in front of the school sign so I could take pictures. She was acting embarrassed. It has begun. She got over it as soon as she saw many more moms making their kids do the same thing.

this is her embarrassed-her-mom-is-taking-her-picture-look (is that kid laughing or sneezing behind her?)

J and her teacher (second year in a row)

Serena began preschool yesterday. This is her second year and her teacher is one Julia had three years ago and which we truly adore. Serena will have a fun year.

James took these pictures. He really has no idea how to work my camera other than pushing one button and taking the picture. :) Serena has some great poses, though.

The past week and a half has been crazy. The kids are adjusting to their "school" bedtimes. Ever since our road trip we have had the darnedest time trying to get them back on an early to sleep, early to rise schedule and when school starts at 745am you have no choice, but to adapt.

Julia had her first soccer game this weekend. It was great to sit and cheer her on. I told her she has another game next Saturday and she said, "You mean I will have another real live game? And I get to wear my uniform?" I answered, "Yes." Julia, "AWESOME!"

it has become an annual event

My parents, sisters, me, our kids, and James spent three days up at Big Bear Lake in the same house as we have for the past three years. The house sits on the lake, in Grout Bay, near the Fawnskin Marina and "quiet" side of the lake.

One year we visited in October. Last year it was June. This year, Labor Day weekend.

The weather was splendid.

For the first time we had neighbors and luckily for Julia they were her age. She would have spent the entire weekend next door if we or they let her.

Here are some pics from the weekend.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

attacked by gnats

I am officially behind on posting to this blog, but will catch up eventually I am sure.

Several weekends ago Kristi and I went hiking out in the San Mateo Wilderness area of the Cleveland National Forest. Even though it is summer here and it routinely runs over 100 degrees out in the wilderness this day was cool and around 75-80 degrees. Perfect!

The plan was to hike the Bear Canyon Trail to the Morgan Trail and back. Round trip it is about 10 miles.

dead yucca

The hike was pleasant and quiet. We saw no other people on the trail. Most of the trail is a single-track and a steady climb from the side we started.

No snake sightings this time.

We did, however, spot some fresh mountain lion tracks and later when we heard a "large" animal near some oaks we definitely considered a lion (but, most likely a deer or other animal)

And no, we were not bothered by any large animals.

In fact, we were majorly annoyed by gnats.

The last 15 minutes of the first half of the hike, as we walked through a grassy, oak-lined area, the gnats began to harass and attack us in the most annoying way.

Honestly, we were swinging and flailing our arms like there was no tomorrow. This was the same time were heard the "large" animal in the bushes slightly uphill from us. We started to make lots of noise (just in case) and swing our arms like crazy people. Those bugs were in our noses, eyes, ears, you name it.

The gnats left us just before the end of the trail.

We survived, thank goodness. We ate our lunch at the Morgan Trail head and rested a bit.

looking east towards Lake Elsinore. Notice the smog. Yuck.

Then Kristi said the unthinkable. To summarize, she declared she would rather risk her life walking the Ortega Highway than go back through the gnats. So funny.

We are adventurers and taking a chance to get hit by a car is just part of adventure, I guess. :) (This is where Kristi says, "Oh, jeez.")

on the road again

We saw some new things, stopped at a day use area and looked at the California Wildland Firefighter Memorial. Interesting. Never knew it was there.

Next we walked down to El Cariso Village to stop at the Country Store. Lo and behold I ran into an old friend who bought the store. She informed us we were crazy to consider walking the road for the next three miles so her friend gave us a ride back to our car. Thank goodness for good Samaritans.

Then we had ice cream at the candy store to reward ourselves for surviving the gnats and Ortega Highway (not to mention a possible mountain lion.) "Oh, jeez."

It was a good time.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Days 10 and 11 - The End of the Road

We had a lazy morning at our friends house eating pancakes and drinking coffee and then we were off.

Today's destination? Fairfield, CA. The drive is just a few hours and we want to break up the drive home since we have a LONG drive home.

Fairfield is windy!

We toured the Jelly Belly Factory and went swimming at the hotel and plain and simply relaxed at the hotel.

The next morning we drove highway 12 which took us through the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta. Fascinating!


I like deltas.

We hit one last State Park before we hit home. The Tule Elk State Reserve. It is the tiniest California State Park I have ever seen. It is in the middle of nowhere and no one was there.

searching for the Elk.

I was the perfect place to have some snacks and let the kiddos run around, but...


They must have been hiding.

Oh wait there's one behind James.

The time spent together as a family was fantastic and I am truly sad it is over. I am not ready for it to be over. Road trips are my favorite vacations.

Day 9 - California again!

Driving in Southern Oregon and over the border to Northern California the landscape is pleasant. The scenery is grand. First milestone? Mt. Shasta.


Serena passing the time.

Snow was seen the day before and today...100+ degree heat.

Nothing says road trip like a cool snack at a gas station. (Serena spied me taking this picture)

We reached our friends house in the afternoon and it was so much fun to catch up. The kids played outside the rest of the night. Julia never took her bathing suit off. I don't blame her, it was HOT! The adults stayed with the air conditioning inside.

Trampolines and hoses make a great pair. Probably dangerous, but it worked. :)

The Nelson were kind to let us sleep in the studio above their shop. It was perfect! They cooked tacos for dinner and pancakes for breakfast. All that with great company, what more could we ask for?

The Sacramento River is at the end of their street. I took this picture at dusk...9pm.