Sunday, October 6, 2013

Anniversary Weekend at Old Sacramento and a Hike on Donner CanyonTrail

Between last week and this we have been pretty busy.  

Last weekend, we spent our 16th wedding anniversary with the kids in Sacramento.  It was a pretty relaxing trip with a trip on the train, a visit to the train museum and just strolling Old Sacramento.  We had our anniversary dinner at Joe's Crab Shack.  

Since we have really cut back on these type of adventures, the kids had a wonderful time.  The highlight was the train museum. I thought I would have kids that loved museums as much as myself but they just ate it up.  The museum is awesome, with the focus on how the railroad transformed the United States into the the industrial powerhouse that it would become.  

Funny thing, it made me remember when I was a kid, maybe 4 or 5 - maybe younger, when my parents took us to a railroad restaurant in Redlands.  We didn't go there often, I believe it might have been pretty pricey.  However, I remember playing in the caboose.

One of two original gold spikes.
After the museum, we continued with the California state history lesson to visit Sutter's Fort.  This was actually Emma's choice.  Again, packed full of history, you quickly come to realize while Sutter was not a nice gent; however, his impact on the creation of the state prior to the discovery of gold was important.

It was a wonderful anniversary weekend,  the first one of these since loosing my job 2 years ago.

Today we had set aside to take the kids up to the Mount Diablo summit; however, there was a cycling race to the summit (the Diablo Challenge).  So we ended up hiking out of Mitchell Canyon.  We did a little exploring and were treated to a whole new side of the mountain to enjoy -Donner Canyon Trail.  This is a beautiful valley at the base of the mountain with oak forests along a creek.  Overall it was a 4.5 mile loop with gentle rolling hills.  When the rain comes, this will be a very beautiful area with waterfalls and emerald green hills.

It has been a nice couple of weeks.

By the way, this is the 100th blog post for this blog.  I have really enjoyed this outlet and look forward to more posts in the future.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Time to Do Some Catching Up....

PhotoWell time flies when your having fun and your computer crashes over two months ago.  Its funny on how you make do and realize what really you need a computer for and what is basically a waste of time.

Oh well, what has been sorely missing is the update of the rest of summer and the kids going back to school.  Emma is now in middle school and we have switched  Sophie and Myles to a elementary that is two blocks from the house!

We have been having a lot of fun, many changes, and working on repairing bridges.  

We had an awesome assembly:

PhotoHad some awesome time with the kids with Myles finally riding and loving riding his bike.  Emma ran her first half marathon (13.1 miles) and Sophie is a running fiend (just completed a solo 10K with over 2000 feet of elevation).

We also had excitement nearby.  Mount Diablo had the first fire since we moved here 14 years ago.  Since we live 2 miles from the park entrance, we had a sideline view.  The park opened back up last Monday and Beth took a run up there.  You can find her pictures here.  We went up today  and I took some more pictures.   The wonderful thing is that other than the grass, most of the stubs that make up the chaperell and manzanita are fire resistant which means that everything will come back next year!

Enjoy some other pictures of the summer:

Thursday, July 4, 2013

June 2013 Recap

Well, we were pretty busy with graduation parties and a visit from Beth's mom.  So busy that it has kind of been nice with the BART strike and me working from home this past week.  I will keep this post short and sweet but include a lot of pictures ala Beth style.

The Kids Party at the Henwoods:

The Henwoods and Vitale's put together a begining of summer / end of school party.  It was pretty much awesome and with the kids playing  on the water slide to their hearts content.

Borges Ranch and Rock City

While Jackie was here, we took her local to nearby Borges Ranch and up Mount Diablo to Rock City.  The kids had their usual fun climbing the sandstone!

Jackie's Visit - Learning to Crochet
 I love that the girls love to do this type of thing.  Especially  when you think that it was the girls idea for their grandmother to teach them.

And Lots of Running

We have been running a lot in our neighborhood.  There is a little bit of single track on a part of the trail.  I have been running this for a few weeks now and have been aware that this would be a prime location for rattlesnakes.  Well Beth took the kids out a couple of days a go and low and behold this lovely lady was waiting for them to come back. As with most rattlesnakes, they want very little to do with humans and they gave her a wide berth.   That week we saw quite a few deer, rabbits and other non-venomous type snakes.  Pretty cool!!!

Pretty much sums up the last couple of weeks.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Emma's 5th Grade Graduation

Today was one of those fun life changing days.   Our oldest daughter Emma graduated from elementary school today.  What was even more fun was to watch her represent her class by saying a speech about the 6 years (kindergarten through 5th grade) she had been at Woodside.

Emma recieving her 5th grade promotion certificate.

She has grown up to be such a lady!  She was very well composed on stage and I would be lying if I didn’t say I shed a tear or two when she was handed her promotion certificate.  I am taken back a bit that middle school is right around the corner.
Emma opening a card from a brother and sister in our congregation.

Emma's first grade teacher Mrs. Holmes.
I never went to one school straight through, attending five different schools by the time I was finished, so for her to relate her experiences with kids and teachers (some who were in the audience) for each grade at Woodside was pretty awesome.  

Emma's friend Jasmin since 1st grade.
Unfortunately, next year we have decided to move Myles and Sophie to an elementary that is much closer (1 block away instead of 5 miles away).  This will mean getting used to new teachers and reestablishing a good parent –teacher-student relationship that we had done at Woodside.  The good news is that the middle school is right across the street from the elementary so the kids will be able to leave at the same time.

Myles' Kindergarten Promotion
I can’t say enough about how awesome the kids teachers have been, from Mrs. Holmes and Hutchenson, to Robinett, Mrs Brandt, to Wilmoth, and not to leave out Mrs. Cattalini.  They have been great partners in teaching our children at Woodside.

Emma's 5th grade speech:

You can also find it on YouTube here:

And Beth's recap is found on her blog here

Monday, May 27, 2013

May Shasta Trip

 So we were able to get up to Shasta this May!  It has been so warm this year, and with the lake already down 30 feet, we thought it would be a great trip for some fishing and swimming.  However, as you probably figured, the rain did make a brief showing early on the trip which meant that is was in the low 70's  - too cold for a lot of swimming but the fishing was great.

In all we caught eight fish - 7 bass and 1 huge bluegill that went after a casting lure.  We went old school with using a long rapala crank-bait a green perch crank-bait handed down from my grandfather. All of the bass were in the 10 to 11 inch range (stuff we would have kept on the houseboat) but we returned to the fishery.

Camping was wonderful, full of my stick to your ribs classic breakfast (bacon and sausage patties, and pancakes and hash browns cooked in bacon grease), hot dogs and S'mores for dinner, and a lot of relaxing.

The campground was pretty empty.  Thursday and Friday we didn't have water, the camp host had been cleaning the water supply in prep for the holiday weekend.  But that was OK, we got some water at the local store in Lakehead and were good to go.
Out to get the Green Perch lure.  Sophie caught two Bass of it.

We are planning another trip in August, which will be all about the swimming.  However, with the heat this year and the current lake level, I am also now opening up to the possibility that we may need to find an alternative.  

I am told that since CalTrans requires the lake to be at a certain level for the Antlers Bridge construction that it can't go too low and as low as we have seen it at Antlers.  Let's see how CalTrans fights off the farmers and PG&E when it comes to their water needs.
Emma pretty happy at this point, Sophie had two fish on her.

All in all a great camping trip! You can find more pictures of the trip on our picture site here.

Emma's second fish.

Got to love the classics.

Even Myles caught a fish!!

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Spring Break 2013

Spring break was fun filled with several hikes and runs and a visit from my sister.  I had a long deserved 4 day weekend, which was extremely relaxing.  Pretty much an awesome spring break.

The kids had fun with their friends, with a hike on up in the Briones with the Berhens.  The weather has been perfect, with the hills in beautiful emerald green and mustard yellow.

One of the highlights of the Briones for the kids are the salamanders and newts.  This hike was no exception, with the hills alive with the amphibians.  Of course they found the typical California newts; however, they also came across tiger salamanders, which have florescent green eyes.

Our rain pattern here for the last few weeks has been one day of rain a week.  For the Briones, this means some pretty muddy trails.  The Berehens wanted to have our kids see some pretty awesome single track trails that were created for some mountain bikes.  Needless to say, they had a pretty hard time keeping upright, but they certainly had fun playing in the mud.

On Wednesday, the kids went for a hike with a family in our hall, the Hash's.  They are new to the area (from Ohio) and we have been showing them of the fun things we like to do.  A couple of weeks ago we took them through Castle Rock Regional Park.  This time, Beth met them at the Lafayette Reservoir.   The kids had a great time on the loop, which ends at the awesome play area.

On Thursday, my sister Melissa flew in for a visit with her friend Lisa in Napa.  We picked her up at the Oakland Airport and took the long way around to Napa.  First stop was at Ghiradelli for coffee and hot cocoa.  Next, we took a trip across the Golden Gate Bridge to have lunch in Sausilito.  There is a nice deli we discovered a couple years back and they have awesome sandwiches.  Melissa also bought some Smarties (the English style M&M's) and I was tempted to buy some Coffee Crisp but resisted.

After Sausilito, with a brief stop at a new running store where we bought some bread (longer story here) in Mill Valley, we drove up to Sonoma.  Emma had visited the mission here for 4th grade California state history, but Beth and I have never been.   It is a really nice town, and I can say that I prefer it much better than Napa.
All people prior to the 1900's were this tall! Except Abe Lincoln and Wyatt Erpp, no one believed me!

We visited some of the historical buildings, like the mission, the barracks, and looked at some of the shops.  It is a really quaint town and worth a trip up.  

After Sonoma, we dropped my sister in Napa with her friend Lisa.  Thank you Lisa for arranging this for her.  It really means a lot, giving her some time to decompress.  Thanks again.

I took a pretty good face-plant, good times.
After Thursday, we spent some time up on Mt. Diablo.  On Friday, Beth and I took a run on a segment of the 50K we will be running in a couple of weeks, off of Camino Tassajara.  With the rain we received on Thursday, it was pretty slick but a good run.  There was a lot of poison oak showing up by now, but somehow we made it through the run incident free.  This is beautiful country, and very jungle like. 

On Saturday, after field service, we took the kids on a hike nearby up to Eagle Peak.  After hiking through the meadows of Clayton and past a new pond we discovered, we begin our climb up through the pine and the chaparral.  This is a single track that leads up along to the ridge that overlooks Mitchell Canyon, Back Creek Canyon, and Clayton and Concord.  It is a beautiful hike.

Once we got to the top, we decided to come down the Mitchell Peak trail, which was pretty awesome.  For the kids any hike up a mountain means running down, and this was definitely a fun trail to run down.  

The wild flowers are in full bloom on the mountain, with reds, purples, oranges, yellows popping everywhere.   The meadows are so green, contrasted by the flowers, and topped off by the red rock.  It is certainly awesome country.

Once we got home, we watched Old Yeller.  Emma recently finished reading it and I had told her about the movie.  It has been nice that free -on-demand have been adding some of the old classics.  It was also fun to see how much of the country shown in the movie looked exactly like what we had just hiked through.

The kids made it through tear free, and I removed myself from the climax of the movie.  Oh well.

What an awesome spring break, now back to school and work!