Saturday, February 27, 2010

Emma's Favorite Bike Ride Route....

Emma's favorite bike ride, as well as one of our favorite runs, starts in Alameda, down to Bay Farm, just north of the Oakland Airport runways and back.

There are spectacular views of the San Francisco Bay and Bay Bridge.

This is the course the Beth and Melissa will be running for the See Jane Run half-marathon in June.

What makes this such a great run, especially for a taper week, is that it is a very flat run.

Myles loves seeing the the airplanes take off, and Sophie loves the flowers, Pampas Grass, and the sea life.

The biggest hazard is the occasional ground squirrel that always finds its way scurrying in front of Beth.

Typically we start off with a snack on the drive over. It is only a 30 minute drive, so we get something light.

The kids really like there croissants. Here Myles is two fisting it.

Emma loves this trail because there is a lot of opportunity to explore and see so many different things. She especially likes to take the lead, which normally means she sets the pace and we having to keep up.

Emma is excited. The weather is perfect. This is one of our last taper runs before the Napa Valley Marathon next week. No wind, blue sky and mid-60's.

Emma finds that she can ride with the adults and really sees herself as a big kid.

When the adults see Emma riding up the bridge by herself (it is a little bit of an uphill) they are impressed she can do it and keep up with them.

While Emma rides her bike, Sophie and Myles try to see how much pampas grass they can capture.

Myles calls it his kite, and Sophie uses it to try to reach Beth as I run behind her.

At the end of the ride, there are some wonderful trees for the kids to climb.

The day ended in a beautiful sunset over San Francisco Bay. The kids were happy but tired. On the way back the moon was full as we came out of the Caldicot Tunnel. It was the perfect ending to a awesome day.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

A beautiful 3 day weekend...

So it has been beautiful ten days!! We have gone from the rain and cold to our first 70 degree days this year.

The hills are an emerald green, the mustard is in full bloom, and the trees are beginning to flower.

It is amazing how quickly we have moved from having no leaves on the trees to the wonderful fragrances of late winter /early spring.

Perfect timing for a three day weekend.

So a couple of weeks ago we worked in a territory off of Livorna Rd. in Walnut Creek. We have never worked on the ridge before, and never knew that there was an open space up there.

By the time we were done, it was already 65 -degree day.

We came home, and got ready for our final long run for our marathon training.

It was definitely one of the warmest days we have had and it was a bit of an adjustment to run at 72-degrees, compared to the weeks we have had in the 50's.

It was to be a 24.65 mile run, beginning at Emma and Sophie's school in Concord, running to Lunardi's in downtown Danville, and then returning the way we came.

At the halfway mark, we stopped to refuel, and contemplate the run home.

We began the return home at 4 which meant that we had 2 hours of daylight left.

One of things the kids enjoy on our runs is the different type birds we see.

We saw this hawk, swoop across the trail and then perch itself in the tree, watching us.

The kids were amazed as it turned its head in all directions looking at us.

Along the trail the kids have identified egrets, loons, white cranes, all types of hawks, eagles, and falcons.

At one point of the run, we go under a I-680 overpass and the kids get to see the swallow nests. It is really fun seeing things through their eyes.

So it took 4:50 minutes to cover 24.65 miles, not including the stop at Lunardi's.

It was 68-degrees when we stopped.

I thought it be fun to take a picture of Emma's tail reflector and see what came out.

It looked like a rear tail light. By the way, I forgot to say Myles road the entire way in his Tigger costume as well as his Spiderman slippers.

On Monday, I had the day off with the kids for the President's Holiday. It began with Emma making her breakfast.

At seven, about to turn eight, she is definitely a big girl.

Later in the morning, I played catch with the kids. Never been really good a throwing a football, it is left up to Emma and Sophie to teach me how to throw a perfect spiral. Momma is a great teacher.

That afternoon we were going to meet Micaela for photo shoot in a field of mustard.

It was also a perfect time for Myles and I to do some exploring.

The field was a buzz, quiet literally, with bees and lady bugs.

Again, the sky was a vibrant blue, emerald green hills, contrasting against the yellow flowers.

Myles thought it would be nice to make a mustard bouquet. He had probably cleared half the field. You see him here very upset that we were not going to take his collection of flowers home with us.

The end of a beautiful weekend with the kids.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

A run, a movie, and the photo shoot....

While we were under the threat of rain all week, it mainly occurred at night. Just the way we like it.

It was pretty much an uneventful week. The typical going to school, meeting, craziness at work.

The when the weekend came we were ready to go. Then again the threat of rain cropped its ugly head. At least it was more mist than anything else.

As we do almost every weekend, it started off with the field service. On the first Saturday of the month we meet at the kingdom hall.

Since it wasn't raining we were able to do door to door, which is the kids favorite. In fact, they get pretty disappointed when it is raining and we are doing return visits.

It was another productive morning with Emma and Sophie both able to go through their presentation and Emma even placed some magazines.

Then off to Sweet Affair......

With Bubba's favorite Red Velvet cupcake and Sophie's chocolate chip cookie.

Not to be outdone, Emma had her burrito from High Tech next door.

When we got home, it was time for our long run. The Napa Valley Marathon is on March 7th, so this weekend meant we had a 22 mile run planned. We thought the rain might squash those plans; however, it turned out to be a beautiful day a few minutes after this shot.

What was fun about this run was that it went quick. Beth and I have been running a couple of days a week during lunch. So have definitely been building our speed.

We completed the run in 3:50.

Myles and Sophie liked their "Bubble" carriage ride.

Emma, as usual road her bike the full 22 miles. Of course we stopped and got a snack at the Alamo Safeway.

She did take a nasty fall when she took one of the side trails. She even has a war wound to show it.

So we run along the Contra Costa Canal trail in Concord, near the kids school, follow the Iron Horse trail to Danville, then come back.

We came home tired...and hungry. We had Emma's favorite dinner: TACOS!!!.

The next day, we decided that after meeting we try something different.

We thought it would be a treat and watch a movie on the DVD player in the car. Sort of like a drive-inn. We got a pizza on the way home from meeting. We ate popcorn and  licorice while we watched Mall Cop.

Of course, a time to relax.

It has been kind of fun coming up with new ways of doing things. I think this past year we have seen maybe four movies in a theatre.

The kids have really enjoyed it to, with them coming up with many of the ideas to have fun.

The kids had Monday off also. We have a young sister in our hall that is a very good photographer. She has been using Emma and Sophie as her models. Beth and the girls meet her and her mother in different areas in the hills around here. On Monday they went up to Mitchell Canyon on the north side of Mt. Diablo.

The young sister had requested Beth put the girl's hair in braids and had the girls dress in a ballet outfit.

Since we have had a lot of rain, the hills are really green, and muddy. She got some really good pictures of the girls.

Between shots, Beth got some good pictures of the kids.

Something else now happens every time we go into the hills, we are constantly looking for Newts and Salamanders. And every once and awhile we get a bonus:

Another scorpion:

This was much thicker, and was probably a female. They actually found two that day.

Here are some more pictures from this day.

Myles is just happy to be outside in the sunshine. He is a pretty fast runner now and is at times hard to catch.

He has really keeps up with with his sisters.

Latter in the week, we got a surprised gift from grandma Jackie, cake molds for the kids.

We had some blueberry muffin mix and used it for cake batter.

Thank you very much!!! The kids loved them.

That is the update for this week. Remember, this is only a sample of our pictures. You can see the complete library on Our Picture Site.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Break and the Beach, Let's Go Fly a Kite!

So Saturday was a beautiful day. The first completely blue Saturday in weeks.

So important things first, we went out door to door and then later in the afternoon went to John Muir Beach, our favorite.

The waves were pretty impressive, with some very massive swells off in the distance towards the San Francisco Bay and the Marin Headlands. We also found this little guy hiding in a boulder!!! More about that latter. We like this beach because it is secluded, the kids can look in the tide pools, hike the headlands, look for shells and stones, and play in the sand.

But first service. We worked in a territory near Shell Ridge. The kids really enjoy our Saturday mornings.

Myles found a pile of wood chips and called it his mountain.

Emma did very well, as usual, and placed a couple of sets of magazines.

Sophie worked with Micaela and got to use her presentation at a couple of doors.

Myles enjoys just going to every door, ringing the doorbells, then leaving old issues of the magazines under the doormat. In fact he gets pretty upset when we are done; then realizes it is time for break!!!!

So we were off to Sweet Affair!! Myles favorite is always the cupcake. Sometimes it is the Red Velvet, or the one with the white sprinkles.

Sophie normally only wants the chocolate chip cookie. I say only, however these cookies are great.

Emma is at the point that she likes a bean burrito from High Tech Burrito next door.

It is so funny seeing the kids enjoying service as much as Beth and I did as we were kids.

So after service, it was time to go home, pack some sandwiches , clothes to change into, and the beach toys.

So after getting our beach blankets laid out, it was time to explore the tide pools. We had to cross a shallow creek with a swift current. Beth and I helped Myles and Emma while Sophie trudged through like the sure foot she is.

Right now, Bubba is all about castles and kingdoms. Because we had to cross the creek, he looked at every boulder as his own little mountain and castle to climb.

One boulder in particular was the size of a house. This is where we normally find starfish, sea anemone, and this is where we found the crab at the beginning of this entry.

We were amazed at the colors in such a small creature. Mind you, the above crab was in a crack in the "Castle" no more than 3 inches. The crab was no more than two inches.

The waves were crashing all around, but the kids were looking under every nook and cranny. Then Myles decided he had found his castle.

Then we were back to have our picnic and FLY KITES!!!!. This was the first time Myles had ever flown a kite.

By this time, Myles was having allot of fun!!!

And of course, what trip to the beach is fun without playing in the sand. At the end of the day, we took a hike up the Headlands and looked down at the beach. The end to a perfect day.