Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Today's Adventures

Redwood Park/Stream Trail
Jake had some homework to do for his outdoor education class so I figured this was another great opportunity to get out and explore! I actually came to this park Monday night for a photo shoot with my friend parents. There are beautiful picnic grounds here, but also miles and miles of trails.

While Jake did his 'sit spot' homework. Megan and I took some pics. These photos still don't look right to me on blogger, but oh well.

He was not into taking picture today. Or maybe this is just his new "cool" way of posing. ?

He looks so uninterested and tired. Poopy head.

I can't remember what these flowers are called. Anyone? They were gorgeous. Right along side the trail.

Isn't it beautiful?

I think it's my new favorite place.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Little Lioness.

Her hair just reminds me of a lions mane. Man, I wish I had that much hair!

Thursday, May 24, 2012


This coming July is going to mark the start of our THIRD year here in Oakland. How can that be? Sometimes it feels like we've been here forever and other times it's like the blink of an eye. Megan was still only 3 when we moved here. (nearly 4, but still 3!)
Anyway, so we've lived here for 2 solid years now and I know I've spent way too much time in my little house, or staying near the little places I know, but not really ever venturing out. There is SO much to do around here. I feel like we've only scratched the surface. We are so lucky to be in an urban area full of culture, museums, parks; a 20 minute train ride from SF, the beach etc... But not only that...There are literally hundreds of hiking trails within 5-10 minutes of our house. That's the beauty of the Bay Area!
So I want to make an effort to get out more. Explore. See what there is to see around here.
Tuesday Pete text me and said: It's a beautiful day, you guys should go to Lake Chabot. We go to this lake often, but hadn't been there lately. So instead of just saying maybe or maybe tomorrow, I said OK and had the kids pack up a lunch. (don't let anything sneak in and tell you otherwise, just do it!)
We had such a nice time. The kids brought their scooters and raced down all the hills on the walking path. I was reminded how much I love being outside. I love exploring. Finding something new. Taking the long road. That spur of the moment Sunday drive. I decided right then to make a conscious effort to do this more. We've been to Lake Chabot a hundred times. And while it's a great place to go, I wanted to explore other places too.
So the next day I got on Yelp and found us another place to go. This time it was Joaquin Miller Park. It's a huge 500 acre park right here in Oakland, just 2 or 3 minutes away. And we'd never been there before! There's a nice playground, a huge amphitheater, loads of walking trails and even mountain biking trails. The whole park overlooks Downtown Oakland, the bay and San Francisco on  a clear day.
The park had great reviews on Yelp but I was sad to see when we got there, this gem of a park had really been let go over the last few months? years? who knows?

This is the view from the amphitheater looking down on what is supposed to be these cascading water falls that flow into several different pools and then down to 3 reflecting pools and a fountain at the bottom. Unfortunately though, the only thing we found was dried up mud, lots of weeds and thousands of tadpoles and frogs.  

It's the tiniest frog I've ever seen!
Of course the kids didn't care. They were perfectly happy catching frogs and would have stayed there all day had I let them! 
But I could see how beautiful this park must have once been. It was sad to see it in such disarray. The hiking trails weren't marked well. There were fallen trees and overgrown weeds on many of the paths.  Some of the people we talked to said this is their favorite park. I could see if you'd known it forever why you'd say that. I did overhear one of the park workers say they were trying to get it back up to par again. I hope they do. It was still a good day. I don't regret going one bit. That's what this exploring thing is all about. How will I ever know if I don't go see for myself? 
Going to check out Huckleberry Nature Preserve next week. 

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Tuesday Things.

* Oh these chickens. They were about to drive me to drink last night. Pete and Jake and left to go to the archery range and left the chickens out, wandering the hillside. Not usually a big deal. I was fully prepared to let them stay out there till the boys got home. That is, until Megan came in screamin' about a fox in the yard. I'd been standing at the sink washing dishes when she came in. I left the water running and ran out the door. It took us at least 45 minutes to get 20 of them back in the coop. They just didn't want to go in. I tried real hard not to cuss but I'm pretty sure I said damn, hell, SOB, effing (but no actual F bomb) and shit, several times. Did I mention I was wearing a maxi skirt and flip flops whilst doing this chicken chasing? Stop laughing. We also have 22 chickens. I was sure those last two must have got eaten by the fox. (and i did not care) But by the grace of God my neighbor spotted them about an hour later down by her house. All is safe and sound today. Although the thought of getting the shotgun and blasting the lot of 'em certainly crossed my mind!
* We went to the rodeo last Thursday night. I guess maybe technically it wasn't the real rodeo. It was just the qualifying rounds for team roping. It was free, so what the hey, right? Only it was FA-REEZING out there. The fog rolled in and the wind was blowing and we were sitting on metal bleachers. I only lasted about an hour before I finally said we had to go. I don't like cold, but I actually kept my mouth shut and didn't complain. I think actually the kids were colder than me. They whined the whole time.

* Sunday Pete promised the kids he'd take them up to the school so Megan could ride her bike and Jake could practice baseball.

(I haven't edited any of these pics and blogger sure is making them look extra crappy. From what I understand is blogger is compressing the file even farther (than a normal jpeg compression) and making them look horrible)
* Then Sunday evening we experienced a solar eclipse. It was actually way cooler than I expected it to be. Around 6:30 all of a sudden....well it just looked like the Earth was underneath a giant tinted window. It was kind of eerie and awesome. We made a pinhole in a paper plate to look at it. I was surprised you could see it so clearly. Here in the photo to up and to the left of what looks like the sun, and in that little red sun flare is a crescent like shadow that is the eclipse.

* Today we went on a picnic. 

* Friday was our last official day of school. But we're still going to keep on truckin' until about June 8th. Then we're headed out for a wedding and a little vacation. That's when summer officially begins!
* It's my sister in laws wedding we're going to. Originally she just asked me to take some candid type shots, because she was hiring a professional photographer. I was totally cool with that. I honestly didn't want the pressure of a wedding. But then.......She asked me to shoot the whole thing. AHK! I'm nervous and excited. But that same weekend I have another huge photo shoot too. A family reunion. Crazy town.
* About a month ago I ordered our 'butterfly larva' AKA: caterpillars for our science curriculum. All 5 of them have now hatched. I'm telling you, I've know the butterfly life cycle for as long as I can remember, but experiencing it first's like witnessing a miracle.

* We (Pete and I) started reading Lonesome Dove a few weeks ago. Yes, that Lonesome Dove. I never read books when their actually on-trend. We're on chapter 5 and they haven't even left town yet. If you're familiar with the movie/mini-series, then you know we've got a loooong way to go. Check back with me in a year---that's probably when we'll finish it!
* Feeling good about our garden. Planting seeds is pretty cool. I love how you can see such growth each day. So much is already poking out of the ground. It's exciting. Can't wait to eat home grown food!

Monday, May 14, 2012

Where I/we have been...

I just keep ignoring this little blog of mine. I don't really mean to, I do love it and all 8 of my faithful friends that read it. :)
Here's a little bit of what's been going on around here lately:

*Little bit of spring cleaning. I cleaned out my closet alone and got rid of 4 giant bags of clothes.
*Lots of enjoying the weather. I'm starting to realize after 2 years here that Spring and Fall are the best. But I still can't get used to the drastic temp changes. Saturday it was a gorgeous 75-80 degrees. Sunday I think the warmest it got was 64*. That's a huge change for one day.
*Play-dating. I've never really been a play date mom. But when you homeschool, sometimes you've got to get those friendships (both for them and for me) whenever you can. Besides my GPS taking me to the wrong spot at a gay men's "meet-up/quickie" place (yes, really O_0 ), it was really awesome. I found my way by using natural instincts rather than GPS :D The mom and the kids were both great. Doesn't happen all that often!
*Hiking. Jake's outdoor class had a field trip to a hiking trail right near our house that I've never been to before. It was so awesome. Megan and I decided to go back early to hike around ourselves and then convinced Jake to stay another hour or so after. I forgot how much I love to hike around and explore. All the wildflowers are blooming right now. I absolutely love wildflowers.

*Entertaining. We've had a few dinner and dessert guests lately. It's fun. And definitely keeps us busy.
*Still taking a photography class. I can not say enough good things about Karen's class. She is extremely knowledgeable. Not that I doubted that, but she takes this class very, very seriously and it is evident in the way she teaches and involves herself in the class. Still 5 weeks to go, but I can say totally worth the money.
*Trying to get ready for a wedding (Pete's littlest sister) and a vacation (to our church camp) and a 50th wedding anniversary (for close friends parents) all happening the same week in June. Why do people do this to me! LOL! It'll be fun though.
*Finally finding a dress for afore mentioned wedding.
*Smoothie making. I just got myself one of those Ninja blenders. Have you seen those? For less than $100 I can turn ice into snow. It's pretty awesome.
*Gardening. Thanks to the help of my green thumb mom, we got our garden planted finally this weekend! We got going a little late in the season, but I really think it's going to be fine. We wanted to start off with seedlings this year instead of seeds, but the garden centers around here didn't have much selection. So seeds it is. We've got more tomatoes that we'll know what to do with, squash, zucchini, potatoes, watermelon (per Jake's request even though I don't think it will grow here), strawberries, carrots, onions, OKRA!, beans, a variety of lettuce, and a whole bed that's nothing but herbs! Oh and bell peppers. Yes, we're taking CSA orders now. haha ;-)
* There's been so, so much more. Lots of enjoying life around here, that's for sure.