Sugar Bowl Birthday

We were able to take the fam up to Soda Springs for Joe's birthday!  The conditions were finally right.  Enough of a base but not too frigid.  The big kids have only been one other time but they picked it back up pretty quick.  Jono took them out in the morning and they totally conquered the bunny slopes.

I got to come out with them in the afternoon.  And since they were doing so well I decided we should step it up to the next level.  The Jerome Hill Express.  It took us up a little higher but it still had a green trail we could take all the way down.  Problem was you could only see blue and black slopes from the lift.

Abby was freaking out.  Just a bit.

Here's her "mom, i'm cute but you can't be serious" look

They did well

for the moment.

Joe's reaction to skiing and crashing was "this is awesome!"  Abby's was "help!!! i'm going to die!" which she said while laughing hysterically.  I guess laughter is her coping mechanism.  Good to know.  After almost skiing onto a black trail and almost giving herself a heart attack, she resorted to sliding down the rest of the way on her boodie.  Laughing and making pathetic jokes the whole time.

She was beyond relieved to get back to the good ol' White Pine lift.

For the last run of the day I challenged Joe to a race.  Somehow he jumped on the lift ahead of me. 

Not only did he have that little bit of head start but the lift mysteriously slowed down right before I got off.  That's my story anyway.  And I'm sticking to it.  Because he was down the mountain before I had even turned around.

While the big kids were skiing, the littles got to sled their hearts out at the lodge.

Sled.  Roll around in the snow.
Same kind of thing.

Fun times were had by all!


got crackerjack?!

Little League Opening Ceremonies
oh yeah.
this is it, people.
the official start of baseball season.
all the teams line up around the "dirt line" (somebody knows the real name for this.  i will do my best as a baseball mom but i have a lot to learn).  then each team's coach calls out the name of every player on his/her team.  that's right.  every player on every team in the league.  when your name is called you run as fast as you can to home plate.

 then the whole team runs back all together.
as fast as they can.
the coaches try to keep up.

 abs is excited to be a part of a softball team this year.
i mean, they have cuter socks.
she is also learning to pitch!
she did FABulous!
no kidding, struck people out and stuff.
 joe worked on intimidating the opposing team with his tough guy stances.
and by hitting the ball way over their heads.

look out MLB and WMLS,
here come the gardners!


Human Spirograph

I loved to play with this as a kid.
It has circles.  It has symmetry.
Just lovely.
So when I saw this video of Tony Orrico, I knew we would be trying it!
We had to tape a few pieces of paper together to create a large enough canvas.  Then everybody got a turn. 
The trick is to stay centered and have your arms make the same motion the whole time you are rotating.

 Jono can't stand to be dizzy.  He only made it around once.
Dilly was our freestylin' spirographer.
And here is the finished product...


Eight is Great!

#2 turned eight today.
He is in a "I don't want you to take my picture and if you do I'm definitely not smiling" phase.  So, in spite of that or because of it, here are his birthday pics.

I miss squeezin' his chubby little cheeks--they've been gone for a while now--but it is great getting to know this smart, curious eight-year-old boy.  I was kind of surprised he wanted a number shirt like I made for D but he requested.  He also got doughnuts for breakfast and tacos for dinner ("because it's something everybody likes").  He was pretty excited about his sparkler candles.  So much so that he wouldn't blow them out!  Little pyro.  Abby helped me make these strawberry nutella muffins for dessert.  It was a good start to the birthday weekend!!!
Hope you have a good one!


Come Visit Cali (the pacific coast)

Coming out of the woods onto a bluff that drops hundreds of feet into the vast Pacific Ocean is an awesome thing.  It has been seen many times before by many, many people.  But it is still an awesome thing to see how an ocean so big greets the edge of a continent.

Highway 1 twists and wiggles along the California coastline.  We drove until we got to a strip of beach that was wide enough (and safe enough for the littles) to explore.
This is Stinson Beach.  Just a short drive away from Muir Woods and San Francisco.

Plenty of room there to just sit and take it all in or explore the beach for treasures.

Or for signs of Sasquatch.
Look at those footprints! 
And see those logs--no human hatchet has touched them, raw muscle power must have ripped them in two.

We also played a game of advanced hopscotch.

They were the winners.

We tried to replicate the victory leap but our family didn't fare quite as well.

Trek said he was holding all of us up in that last one.  He is pretty strong.

Have you been to the west coast?
Operators are standing by to help you with your reservation!


Just Laugh!

When things strike me as funny
I can't hide it inside
And squeak - as the squeakelers do
I've got to let go with a ho-ho-ho...
And a ha-ha-ha...too!
from "I Love to Laugh"

you know,
Uncle Albert on the ceiling.
I'd like to replace your cat.
Well, that's fine but how are you at catching mice?


Windows Repurposed...Greenhouse!

Jono has worked hard building this lovely recycled greenhouse for us.
And now it is finished!

It's quirky and cute (kinda like us!) and completely functional. 
It is keeping in the warmth nicely.
The chicken shed is on the right side.

You can see the roof in this picture. 
We used clear corrugated plastic roof panels.

Now to get some seeds started!
Good thing I have some willing helpers.
They are planting some lettuce.  Beet seeds were also planted this week.

Such cute little helpers!

So there you go.  A look at the new/old greenhouse.
The shelves are in the process of being built so we'll give you an inside tour when they are done.


In the Snow

It snowed last week.  Finally.
I say finally only because this time last year we had snow coming out our ears and all of our perishables sitting on the front porch because the power had been out for days.
time to play!

We were a bit too ambitious with our snowman. 
Abby and I couldn't lift his middle so he got shorted a couple snowballs,
but thankfully he still got his carrot!


Come Visit Cali (Angel Island)

You've probably heard of Alcatraz, well, Angel Island is another island in the San Francisco Bay.  We went last summer with my mom.  Taking the ferry to get there was one of the best parts of the day. 
It's so nice to be on the water watching the fog roll out. 
And again at the end of the day watching it roll in.

Don't we look like great adventurers with our packs on?!  Of course, one is for the baby and the other is full of things like goldfish and graham crackers.  All great adventurers take the essentials.
Once you get there, you can hike, bike, walk, run, beach comb, etc.
The views are amazing all around the island.

You can also visit the Immigration Station. 
Angel Island was the Ellis Island of the west from the 1800s into the early 1900s.   Immigrants from hundreds of different countries had to pass through here before going on into the United States.  They could be detained for days, months, or years!  Can you imagine after traveling thousands of miles under all sorts of circumstances (think small boat, big ocean) only to be stopped here with a measly one mile of water separating you from freedom.
They were packed into barracks like the one below.  Something like 80 people slept in this one room wooden building.

Also found at the Immigration Station is a bell to ring.

And geese to talk to.

Elsewhere on the island you can find out about local (present) wildlife.

And some wild life stories from the past.

I would love to go back and try climbing Mt. Livermore (the highest point on the island) or renting a bike to ride around the whole thing. 
Who's coming with me?