Hollywood {with the smiths}

We took a trip into Hollywood while we were in SoCal. 
If you look closely, you can see the Hollywood sign towards the top left. 

 The kids loved it. They got such a kick out of seeing all those "famous people". Trek even got to hold the grim reaper's sword!

I on the other hand was a little disenchanted by the fact that these people in costume were using my children to get money. Maybe I'm too cynical.
Or too much of a nerd.  I was way more excited about the DaVinci exhibit we went to down there.
There were replicas of a bunch of the machines he invented,  sketches of more of his ideas, and a few of his paintings.  Remember he was the guy that painted the Mona Lisa.

It was very hands-on.  Good thing since the kiddos were going to have their hands on it anyway!
They also had stations where you could design your own face for Mona and make paper airplanes.

The paper airplanes were tested and found to be flight-worthy.
One was left behind.  Whoops.

We also saw the Chinese Theatre, handprints in the concrete, and stars on the sidewalk
like every good Hollywood tourist does.


Wildlife {Carpinteria, CA}

This spring break we took off in search of a warmer climate.  We headed south and ended up the little beach town of Carpinteria, CA.  Carpinteria is just south of Santa Barbara and north of Ventura.  Such a cute place! I didn't get any pictures of the downtown area but if you've ever seen a Gidget movie or one of those beach films with Annette Funicello and Frankie Avalon then you've seen it!  You can walk right off the beach up to The Spot which has been and still is the spot to get burgers.

Another cool thing about Carpinteria is the wildlife.  Across the street from where we were staying, you can walk the bluffs that overlook the ocean and one part of the beach is a seal rookery.  The harbor seals come here year after year to have their pups.  So we were able to see the cute little baby seals and watch them all jostle each other about.

While we were standing there we saw two dolphins and
a whale surface several times!!!
And this cute little rabbit crossed our trail at one point.

With all this wonderful wildlife happening right before our eyes, what are my boys fascinated by?
Roly Polies.
They collected dozens of them.

I mean, we were watching a whale migrate north for the summer.  The real thing, not just some show on Discovery.  But then again, whales can't roll up into a perfect little ball when they're scared either.


Project Restyle {Sand Toys}

All of these cast-off kitchen items came from my local thrift store.
Grand Total = $3
All the different shapes gave me (uh, I mean, the kids) so much to play with!  The metal spoons were the best.  So much more durable that those plastic shovels you get at Wally World or the Dollar Store.  We had one of those too and it was broken in under 10 minutes.

One of our castles.

And the reason we didn't have very big castles.  (There were a couple of reasons actually.)

Another fun thing to build in the sand...
mermaid tails!


On the Side of I-5

When you are on a long road trip, you must stop to stretch your legs.
Especially, if you have little legs full of youthful energy.
Or, if you have old legs that are stiff from sitting too long in one place.
So, we stopped at one of the four gas stations on all of I-5 and ran around some.

Abs looked so cute in her tough-girl Easter outfit (thanks, Nons! it was perfect!)
that I wanted to get a picture.
She wasn't too keen on that idea.

But I like this one...

This is only other kid I'm still fast enough to catch.  Barely. 

Oh, and there were bees on the dumpster.  Lenny wanted to hold them.


It's Spring Somewhere {California Coastal Wildflowers}

There we were, on top of this gorgeous bluff overlooking the ocean and surrounded by all these wildflowers!  I wish I knew the names of all of them.  If anyone who knows would like to pipe up and tell me, please do.  For now I hope you at least get a little taste of this magnificent view that we enjoyed that day in Carpinteria.

This next one I do know.  It is the bloom of a eucalyptus tree.  It has no petals, but is decorated by its many stamen.  After it finishes blooming, the seed pod is left.  The pods that I have seen have either a star or a cross in the center.  If you look in the center of this flower, you will see a pentagon shape where the star will be when it dries. 

I love how God leaves his fingerprints all over nature.

The pods can be used in lots of fun, crafty ways.  I've been using them as stamps to decorate different clay creations!  Bowls, cups, earrings.  Any other ideas for eucalyptus pods?

Rivercats Update

The Rivercats have had a great year.  Just one more game to go before we close the season.
Here is a little run down of how the kids have done...
At Bat
Joe was hitting good, solid hits the first half of the season.  He decided to change his stance to be "like the majors", holding the bat up really high.  It threw him all off but he could not be convinced to change back.  He still gets hits.  They aren't like they were but he looks good at the plate.
*please notice how he runs on air* 

Abs is a slugger.  She has had more than several hits into the outfield and one line drive almost took Jonathan out!  Then she gets those long legs kickin' and she's around the bases before you know it.

 In the Field

  Joe will get the ball.  He can cover several positions at once and you can be sure that when he does snag it he will be in mid-dive.  He also likes to throw it just as far as he can.  So, outfield has been a good fit for him.

Abby has played mostly second or short stop.  She is consistent but maybe a little too polite out on the field.  I think her aunts need to teach her a little bit about game etiquette.

The little boys also get in on the game in their own special ways.  More on that in another post.



Jono only shaves once a year.  That usually applies to haircuts as well but I think he missed that yearly appointment.  He always makes sure to include the kids at this yearly event because it changes his appearance so drastically.  He doesn't want to scare them.  They each took a turn with the electric razor.
My husband is a brave, brave man.

The Shaving seems to always fall near Cinco de Mayo when there is the Shaving Part 1...

which is quickly followed by the Shaving Part 2 because I will not go to bed with him looking like that.  This year we missed the in between stage (and when I say 'we' I mean 'only him') and the final product was this debonair young gentleman...

I wish his dad could have been here to see it.  He would have been so pleased.  But there is a very small window of opportunity, because next year's beard starts growing immediately. 
So, make plans for next May, Charley!


Who likes the Easter Bunny?

We had a lovely Easter.  I hope yall did, too.  The kids hunted eggs several times.  The first hunt was up here at the park with a special guest appearance!

As you can see, Dylan was not too sure about the giant man-sized rabbit.  Trek was thrilled because he gave him candy.  Joe was too cool to stand with the bunny for a picture.  He just took his candy and ran.  I did convince Abby to take a picture with him but it was with much eye-rolling and arm-crossing. 

How do you feel about the Easter bunny?  I think I prefer the Cadbury kind.  But then again, a rabbit laying eggs could be a bit disturbing too.  Hmmm.

Our church also had a hunt after the service.  Trek, sweet boy, was thrilled with his "golden" egg while Dylan (and Joe for that matter) was more excited about what they found inside the eggs!