Thursday, November 24, 2011

Skating in walnut creek

Myles is just loving skating, no fear.  The girls are having a great time too.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Mt. Diablo Half Summary

You will find the Mt Diablo half marathon summary on my other blog 262 to 26.2.  There are some nice pictures from the summit.  More pictures are located on our Dropshots page to the left.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Summer Wrap-up

With an "extended vacation" you would think that I would have posted more.  Sorry for the delay; however, we did cram a lot beginning in August.  So let me catch you up.

So Beth and I completed the San Francisco Marathon for the second time.  I can say that it was not our best performance, yet it is really rewarding to be able to do this type of accomplishment with my wife.  The first half of the course is beautiful (but the typical summer overcast) and takes you along the waterfront, across the Golden Gate Bridge and back and through Golden Gate park.  The second half is not so pretty: through the Haight, Mission, and Dog Patch.  This will probably be the last time we do the San Francisco Marathon, it is definitely not one of our favorites and is not as organized as the other Marathons we have done.  This combined with the price, yikers!!!!

We also, took a week long camping trip to Shasta Lake.  Truly one of our families favorite locations.  This is the first time we have ever camped 7 days, but we really enjoyed ourselves.  The weather cooperated with us, with no day warmer than 95-degrees.  The water level was about 15 to 20 feet from the shore.  

We found a couple areas where we could swim.  Emma and Sophie did catch some bluegill; however, as normal in summer, the fish were looking at us, teasing us.  That combined with a near full moon meant we got skunked.  

We did take a patio boat out one day. We did some trolling, and Emma lost a pink lady.  We made it down to Elmore's Bay.  I thought for sure we would catch something down there - I have never been skunked there.  Well there is a first time for everything.  We did a lot of swimming.

The nice thing about were we stay, Antlers Campground, is that they have an amphitheater and the kids got to learn about the geology of the lake as well as how to pan for gold.

Later in August, Beth's mom came down for a visit.  Beth and the kids hadn't seen her since April, 2010, so it was a nice trip.  Thanks to our friends, Noel and Marty, we got free tickets to Waterworld.  It wasn't too warm and the kids had an awesome time.

We also were able to take Jackie to Sausilito and Mill Valley.  Again, the weather was nice - on the warm side - however we got awesome views of San Francisco.  I was surprised how much the kids love art galleries.  They were the ones wanting to go inside.  In Mill Valley, we went to Tyler Florence's cooking store as well as looked at his new restaurant, El Paseo.  It is a beautiful place and right next to it is a lovely antique store.  The kids got "tree branch" pencils for school.

We also made a trip to San Francisco while she was here, to Pier 39 and Gharideli.  It was a beautiful time.

We do update our picture site on a more regular basis, so if I am lagging, you can find pictures of what is going on here.  And always, the pictures on this site are only a summary of what is going on.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Catching up

Ok, so I know I haven't posted in awhile.  So that I can get back on track posting, I will just say that we have been really busy and restart with this past week.

Our weather is finally starting to cooperate.  With the exception of a freak rainstorm and cold weather on Tuesday (my S.A.D has been awful this year!)  we are finally in the 90 to 100 degree summer that we love in the East Bay.  This has meant that the kids are spending most of the time in the swimming pool.

Kona isn't liking it much.  He looks for the coolest areas in the house, or next to the pool.  The kids hair is lightening up, with the help of some Sun-in.  It is so funny to me to see Sophie and Emma wanting to lighten their hair with the stuff.  It takes me back to the houseboat trips or visiting my cousin in So Cal and seeing who could get their hair the lightest.

On Friday, we had the Berhens over for a swim and to roast hot dogs.  Everyone had a great time.  We were introduced to Banana Boats, which are basically S'mores in a banana.  Our kids are very close in age, being born one month apart for each of the kids.

Saturday we took advantage of the free fishing day at the Lafayette Reservoir.  The kids love fishing and they are finally at the age that they can sit patiently.  The fish were there looking at us, especially the whopper large mouths, but we didn't catch anything.  The kids had a wonderful time anyway.

On Monday we will be getting up early for a 18 mile training run before the heat sets in.  We are training for the SF Marathon at the end of July.

Our convention begins on Friday.  I am so looking forward to this one.  Three dramas and a discussion about the image in Daniel.  So much encouragement to look forward to.

Friday, April 29, 2011

We Completed it as a Family!!!!

We did it!!! We completed our thirty hours for April axillary pioneering this morning!!!!   And a beautiful morning it was.  We had a nice group out and the kids were excited as usual.  We only had 3 hours to go and they went by very quickly, doing some door to door followed up with some calls.

Sophie and Emma both asked when they could pioneer again.Beth and I are tired but feel great.  I am so happy that we could do this as a family.  It has really encouraged us.  Now looking forward to the summer and all of the spiritual activities related to that.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Busy Times in the Month of April

So we have really been busy!!  We took a trip to Monterrey, we began axillary pioneering with 63 other publishers in our congregation, and Sophie became a publisher!!!  Not to mention the craziness at work, it has been a pretty eventful few weeks.

So it started with the Big Sur Mud Run in Monterey..  Beth and some friends from our congregation (Brian K, Matt, and Sabrina) and her friend Angela made up a team of five. It is a five mile mile run combined with mud pits, walls, and other challenges.  I waited and took pictures with the kids and other spouses.  It was raining during the race; however, the sun came out for a beautiful weekend.

There are so many beautiful places in Monterey, and following the storm, the waves were pretty high.  The kids got to enjoy the weekend with there friends, playing in the ocean and swimming in the pool.

The month also has been great for field service.  Sophie became an unbaptized publisher in March which meant that she and Emma will be able to record 30 hours in the ministry.  The kids have been real troopers.  We have been doing 4 to 5 hour Saturday's, 1 to 2 hours on Sundays, and 1 hour on Wednesdays.  They love the ministry and have been great.

We had a wonderful turnout for Memorial and followed up with the traditional schooner sundae at Claim Jumpers.

This week the kids have spring break, and have been taking advantage of the wonderful weather to play outside.  We began planting a vegetable garden at the beginning of the month and we are starting to see the fruits of our labor.  Everything is growing so much better in this yard vs. the old house.  Beth also made a fire pit and we have taken advantage of it, roasting hot dogs and marshmallows.

That pretty much catches everyone up. Summer is around the corner and we are trying to see if we can swing a trip up to Washington as well as do some camping.  And for nieces and nephew, say hi to Big Al for me!!!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Diablo Trails Challenge

Courtesy of Brazen Racing

So running has definitely become a family affair.  This past weekend was no exception.  Emma and Sophie love trail runs, and the latest Brazen Racing race was on a trail we are very familiar with:  Castle Rock Regional Park.  This is only 10 minutes from the house and was a very fun 5K (3.1 miles) for the family.

Myles got to spend time with his best friend Sawyer and went out in service.  We braved the rain (the rainiest day of the year) and set out.

Now, there is not enough to say on what a first rate operation Brazen Racing is.  It really made the difference in what could have been a challenging day.  The course crossed several creeks, out and back and it was very muddy.  But extremely fun!!!!  Emma and I started off at starting line.  Beth and Sophie started in the middle of the pack.  My goal was to run enough ahead of Emma so that if the creeks were too deep I could help here across.  No problem there.  The girls were such troopers.  They slopped through the mud and crashed through the creeks. 

I don't know any kids that have so much determination. Both of them bested there other 5k trail run times, even with the challenging conditions.

After all was said and done, Brazen Racing and the Save Mt. Diablo group provided a wonderful BBQ.  It was cold and wet, but you couldn't erase the smiles on the girls.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

District Science Fair and Alameda

On Saturday, Emma represented the third grade at Woodside Elementary in the District wide Science fair.  So proud of her.  The fair occurred Saturday morning, so Myles, Sophie and I dropped Beth and Emma off.  Emma did real well, and won a dinner for the family where she will have to present her science project to the Fair sponsors.

After,  we went to Alameda for a run / bike ride.  This was Sophie's first bike ride in Alameda and loved every minute of it.  The weather was perfect; however, Beth and I were tired from taking care of the puppy the past week, so we only got 9 miles in.

Myles had great fun, looking at the flowers and the sea life. 

It is just a really nice place to spend as a family.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Trampolines, Brakes, and Rotors

Well, the last couple of days were rather different. First, we had a couple introduce Beth and I to Airobics, which is aerobics on trampolines.  Second, after 42 years, I learned how to change the brakes and replace the rear rotors on our car.....

First, we were invited to go with a couple in our hall to Sky High for Airobics.   This place is awesome.  The kids went over to the kids area and jumped around then moved over to a jump pit.  This jump bit was made up of three trampolines followed by a pit of foam blocks.  We could see them the whole time and they never took a break.  Later they played dodge ball on trampolines!!!!

Beth and I as well as Matt and Sabrina joined the class.  Basically the class consists of different exercises on the trampoline and lasts for 55 minutes.  It was pretty fun as you jumped around with twenty other people following the instructor.  It was extremely enjoyable.

Second, I have to say I have really needed to have the brakes done on the car.  I mean when you hear the grinding sound, it is never good.  I was talking with our neighbor and he offered to show me how to change the brakes.  This is the same neighbor that Myles ran into the back of his trucks tailgate,  he still feels pretty bad about that.  He has done race cars and his own vehicles, so I was pretty confident he could show me what to do.

Now I had gone online to see how simple it was and talked with workmates that were in the know (I mean I work for AAA so there are "experts" everywhere) and got scared off.  Now having one car and really not trusting repair shops, and having a tight budget, I kept putting it off.  This is probably something I should have learned years ago; however, I was spoiled having a father who owned a tire and auto repair shop.  It is finally catching up to me.

So when the neighbor offered, I quickly agreed.  We had the front brakes off and replaced within 30 minutes. In fact we also rotated the tires in the process. 

The rear brakes were a different.  We quickly realized we had to replace the rotors.  No problem.  Took those off, replaced the brakes in another 45 minutes.  After we were done, tested, retested, then retested the brakes again and they were solid.  The noise was gone and I could have peace of mind again.

I am extremely appreciative of the time that our neighbor took and now I know what to do!!!  Thank you.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

New Addtion to the Family

Well, we have a new member of the family.  King Kona Kamoamoa!!  He is a lovely miniture schnauzer, very spry and active.  Of course we call him Kona for short.

To make the transition to the new home a positive instead of the negative (the landlord was foreclosed on), we said that we were moving to the new house so that we could get a puppy.  Beth and I had a schanuzer when we lived in Washington and love the breed.

The kids have wanted a dog for years.  With a brief stint with a kitten in Georgia and alligator lizard from last year, this is there first official pet.  I grew up with many dogs, cats, hamsters, gerbils, fish, birds, chickens, and hermit crabs (no reptiles) so I am happy that they can have a dog.

If you are not familiar with the schnauzer, they are a beautiful breed.  Very intelligent and active.  They love to run and play and are full of personality.  His parents were of wonderful temperment.

We are so happy to have him as part of the family!!!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Snowing in Concord.....

 Well almost.  The Bay Area is pretty funny weather wise in February.  It was just two weeks ago we were talking about  being in the 70's with one day making it 80.  This week we are talking about low elevation snow.

I mean really low.  And the benefit of living in our new house is that we can look out the back of our house and see the snow on the nearby hill, not to mention the snow on Mt. Diablo.  The snow level Friday night got down to about 1,500 feet.  We are now a little over 500 feet now, so it had been pretty cold with snow/rain mix.

We decided yesterday, after service, to take the kids up the mountain to play in the white stuff.  By that time, it was now snowing at the 2000 foot level.  They had closed the road before the Juniper Campground cut-off, so it meant a little bit of a hike.

I couldn't believe how many people made the trek up the mountain.  And how many took their little ones up there without gloves.  They had the sleds though.

The kids had a great time throwing snowballs.  Emma made a nice little snowman.  Beth and I played a little snowball baseball.    It was pretty fun.  It was a wet snow, which meant we got cold and wet pretty quick. 

After a while, we hiked back to the car.  Of course, there wasn't much snow under the trees.  So the kids switched into Salamander hunting mode.  They found a few then hit the jackpot:  another Woodland scorpion!!!
Western Woodland Scorpion on Mt. Diablo
This one was pretty feisty, especially for it being so cold.  We got some great pictures of it though.

After that we headed home. 

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Science Fair in the house.....

The weekend before last, we worked on Emma and Sophie's science fair projects.  It pretty much consumed that weekend, however the kids had fun. 

Sophie's project was to better understand the process of excavating dinosaur bones.  To help, we got her two different dinosaur excavasion kits and she and Beth went to work.  This meant wearing goggles while she slowly chipped away at sandstone.  The process ended putting the bones together into a dino-skeleton model.  The first kit took 2.5 hours and the second took 40 minutes.  Once this was done, it was time to get the display ready, which looked fabulous.
Emma's project was to determine if the width of a wing affects lift.  This was up to she and I.  We made 8 different paper airplanes with various wing types and three balsa wood planes.  These were each flown 10 different times and were ranked for the one that flew the furtherest to the one that flew the shortest.  We graphed the results then came to the conclusion that the width of a wing is not the sole dertimining factor in lift.  Then it came time to build the display.

The science fair was last Wednsday.  It was really neat to see all of the different projects.  For grades 3 to 5, the winner in each grade would represent the Woodside in the school district science fair on February 19th.  All the kids at the school did a wonderful job and we are so proud of Sophie and Emma.  And guess what?

Emma won for the third grade!!!! So next Saturday, she will be showing her project at the District Science Fair.  Sophie is extreamly happy because she gets a ribbon for participating.  She and another 1st grader were the only ones to submit a project!!!
I will give an update next week on how everything goes.

Friday, February 11, 2011

So Cal and Surf City Half Marathon Recap

So my recap will be more of the weekend, with a little bit of the race.
The weather couldn't have been perfect.  We got to the hotel on Friday, and after a brief encounter at the Goodyear Store for a new tire and dinner at Red Robin, we headed back to the hotel, the Desert Palms Inn. 

I have wanted to stay at fthis hotel or years.  It backs up against Disney's California Adventure and you can overlook the Parks with a perfect view of the fireworks.  In fact we took the kids to the 5th floor 2 out of the 3 nights to watch them.  This was a compact suite with bunkbeds  and a pullout sofa bed in one room for Samone  and the kids and a king size bed for Beth and I.  The beds were actually comfortable too.  I think this is the first time in a long time that we actually got a good night of sleep before a race. They also have a full hot breakfast that comes with the room.  This consisted of scrambled eggs, sausage patties, you make wafells, potatoes, and other like breakfast foods.  This property is definately a value, especially when you take into consideration what you save in the cost of breakfast for six people in the mornings.

For diners, we at at Red Robin (as mentioned above), Mamma Cozza's (featured on Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives),  and Casa Gamino (our favorite mexican food when we are in Anahiem.)  More detail on the last two restaurants can be found on my food blog: Gastro Experiements.

One of the reasons we like the Surf City Marathon is that it is in Huntington Beach.  I abolutely love this beach and it brings back so many memories from when I was a kid.  I am so happy that when my kids think of a beach, this is the one that they think of and that when we say that we are heading to the Southland, visiting the  beach is a must.

For Emma and Sophie, going to the beach this time meant body surfing.  So with a stop at Walmart, we picked up boards for them.  Mind you that the high was barely 70-degrees and the water numbed my feet; but they had so much fun.  They also got their kites out, built sand castles, and had a wonderful time.

At night, besides watching the fireworks, the kids also swam in the hotel's pool.  About 30 feet in length, Sophie would swim from end to end 20 to 30 times.  For Emma, it was about jumping in and swimming.  Even Myles got to jump in with the help of his sisters.

Not to completely leave Disney out of the trip, we did go to Downtown Disney.  There are so many new stores.  The Myles and Sophie each got a flashlight.  That is Sophie got an R2D2 flashlight including all of the screams, the beeps, and wistles that the little droid makes.  For Myles it was all about a Minnie Mouse flashlight with a twirling lit up red skirt.  It was pretty funny watching the looks as we walked back into the hotel.

The half marathon and the kids race was on Saturday.  I guess I can say I did pretty good, maintaining a 8:31 minute mile for a finish time of 1 hour 51 minutes.  This is compared to the last (and first half marathon I had ever done) at 2 hours 23 minutes.  Beth had a great time.  This was a fun race for her and she enjoyed every minute of it.  She completed the California Dreaming series, got her jacket as well as her medal.  It is amazing to me what we have been able to accomplish in two and a half short years.  We only limit ourselves.

The kids had a great time in their races also. Emma and Sophie led the pack while Myles took on the below age 7 group.

Monday we headed back to the Bay Area.  We had such an enjoyable time.  Thank you Samone for sharing this trip with us.