Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Fort Ord Dunes State Park

After a cold and rainy weekend, the sun came out to day and the mercury rose to above 60 degrees (that’s warm here).  Since we hadn’t made a trip to the beach since landing on the Monterey Peninsula, we decided today would be the perfect day. 

We packed up the car with toys and snacks and headed to Fort Ord Dunes State Park.  The beach is on the old Fort Ord, a former Army base, and has only been a state park for a few years.  This meant that the beach was pretty much empty.  Other than us, I counted five other people on this remote stretch of beach.

This state park doesn’t have the word dunes in its name for nothing.  I have never seen dunes this big.  They were amazing.

DSC_4704-1

It was a little bit of a hike to get to the beach (especially with two kids, toys, and food in tow), but totally worth it.  The kids loved playing in the sand!

DSC_4738-1DSC_4740-1DSC_4782-1DSC_4793-1DSC_4820-1DSC_4843-1

Mommy and Trenton even decided to get their feet wet in the water.  And it was cold!

DSC_4772-1

What a wonderful evening excursion!  I am pretty sure that we will be making a return trip to this beach sometime in the future! 

*Because of a nasty rip current, swimming and/or surfing is not recommended at this beach. 

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Back to School

“I get to go to preschool like Daddy today!  But Daddy is at a different preschool.”

DSC_4693-1

After being out of preschool a month and a half because of our move, Trenton started at a new preschool today!  He was so excited.  He had a great day, but he did come home with an incident report.  He slipped going up the ladder to the slide and bruised his cheek.  I sometimes wonder if this kid will ever go without a cut, bruise, or scratch on his face!

Trenton is ready to go back to his school tomorrow, and excited that we’ll get to drop Daddy off at his preschool (Naval Postgraduate School) on our way!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Happy 217th Birthday, United States Navy Supply Corps!

It was a weekend of birthdays around here.  Today was Charlotte’s birthday, and yesterday Jarrod and I celebrated the 217th birthday of the United States Navy Supply Corps. 

Jarrod heard about the Monterey Supply Corps Ball before we left Virginia and really wanted to go.  We had a problem though – no babysitter.  It just so happened that we met a wonderful family at church our first weekend in town.  And this family included a 16-year-old daughter – who likes to babysit.  Score!

The ball was on the top floor of the Marriott in downtown Monterey.  It had a beautiful view of the bay.  It would have been really breathtaking if the sun would have been out, but the sky was full of rain clouds.

DSC_4590-1429851_10101789819599054_8307663_79684228_307794367_n
IMG_3741-1

Jarrod and I loved getting dressed up, eating a scrumptious meal, meeting great people, and having some adult time. 

And the kids loved their new babysitter. 

It was a wonderful night all around!

St. Patrick’s Day Birthday

My little St. Patrick’s Day baby turned two years old today!  It seems like just yesterday Charlotte was a teeny tiny little thing.  She is now into everything and thinks that she’s the boss around here. Oh, and just in case you didn’t know – everything is hers!  Even that big bowl of chips that they always put in the middle of the table at Mexican restaurants. 

Charlotte can also be really sweet.  She adores her big brother (when she’s not fighting with him over a toy).  She also loves giving hugs and cuddling.   

Charlotte still doesn’t have a lot of hair, but don’t let her babyish looks fool you.  She is one strong, determined little girl.  And she is fearless.  I’m somewhat surprised that Trenton was the first one out of our kids to need stitches.

Sleeping through the night is not something that Charlotte does on a regular basis.  I’m hoping that once we get the bedroom totally set up with new beds, she can settle into a routine.  Charlotte still sleeps with a paci (and uses it in the car and sometimes during the day too), so I’m thinking that since she’s not sleeping great anyway, I might as well take it away soon.  I’m sure Jarrod would prefer that any sleepless nights happen before he starts classes at the beginning of the month. 

Charlotte has hit a major growth spurt since we left Virginia.  We met with our new pediatrician last week, and Charlotte has taken a big jump on the growth charts.  Finally all of that good eating that she does is paying off!

Weight: 25 pounds – 50th percentile
Height: 34.25 inches – 75th percentile

Today was a nasty, rainy, cold St. Patrick’s Day, so we planned for indoor activities.  We headed downtown to check out MY Museum (Monterey County Youth Museum).  The place was really neat.  Most everything in the museum was geared toward the toddler/preschool/early elementary age.  The museum was small enough that Jarrod and I didn’t get totally worn out chasing after the kids, but big enough to keep the kids entertained for a couple of hours.  The kids drove a boat through Monterey Bay, built a house, dressed up in costumes and paraded on stage, worked in a garden, cooked up a healthy meal, drove an ambulance, worked in a hospital, bought flowers at the flower shop, and played in a tree house.  They already want to go back! 

After the museum, we headed out for lunch.  Charlotte got a flowerpot cake with a candle for dessert.  And she cried the whole time we sang to her.  Apparently she already has issues with getting older! 

What a fun year it’s been for Charlotte.  We can’t wait to see what the next year holds in store!

DSC_4595-1

Friday, March 16, 2012

Slumber Party

Since we moved from four bedrooms down to three with our move to California, Trenton and Charlotte are now sharing a bedroom.  (Our third bedroom is used as a playroom.) 

We have two twin-sized beds on order that should be here next week, but until then, both kids are sleeping on the floor on crib mattresses. 
 DSC_4589-1

I never know what kind of night it’s going to be or what we’re going to see/hear on the monitor when we put the kids down.  Some nights they go right to sleep, and others they go to the window to look for the moon, tells stories, or sing songs. 

Charlotte hasn’t been sleeping good since we’ve been in the house, and I’ve set up a pallet for myself on the floor next to her mattress.  She has been waking up in the middle of the night, and the only way I can get her back down is to lay next to her holding her hand. 

The other night after laying on the floor for over an hour, Charlotte was finally back asleep and I was back in my bed.  Thirty minutes later, I heard her on the monitor again.  This time it woke Trenton up.  I heard Trenton tell her that everything is okay, sing her a song, and tell her that the sun isn’t up yet and it’s still sleepy time.  Then Charlotte asked for her paci.  Trenton got up and found it for her and laid back down.  Then Charlotte asked for her drink.  Trenton got up, found Charlotte’s cup, gave it to her, and laid back down again.  Then Charlotte asked for her blanket to be pulled up.  I heard Trenton say, “Charlotte, you don’t neeeed your blankie.  Just go to sleep!”.  And I didn’t hear another sound out of Charlotte until the morning.  Apparently the girl takes orders from her brother better than she takes orders from me!

And then there was last night.  Jarrod was upstairs taking a shower, and I was down in the living room watching Grey’s Anatomy.  With ten minutes left in the show, I heard Charlotte crying out for Mommy.  By the time I got up and went in the kitchen where I had left the monitor, she had quieted down.  I turned the video screen on to make sure that she wasn’t making an escape to come downstairs to find Mommy.  No, she wasn’t headed downstairs.  Her sweet brother had gotten her right back to sleep (and I didn’t have to miss any Grey’s!).

DSC_4583-1

How sweet are they?  Now if they only acted like that all the time, I would have it made!

*The band-aid on Trenton’s head is courtesy of Trenton’s first set of stitches.  He busted his forehead open last weekend when he fell down in a parking lot.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

It’s Always Sunny in California

Unless, of course, you’re in Monterey.  It was overcast/drizzly the day we drove into town, and these type of days have outnumbered sunny ones since we’ve lived here. 

Thankfully, the day the movers brought all of our furniture and boxes was a beautiful day.  I’ve done a lot of moves since Jarrod and I have been married, but this was by far the hardest.  We had 4 guys bringing in the stuff in off of the truck, Jarrod and me telling them where to put things and checking the numbers of the boxes/furniture off of the packing list, and two kiddos running around acting crazy asking every 10 minutes if we had found the toy boxes yet.  Luckily the playground is only three houses down from us, so Jarrod took the kids down there for a couple of breaks during the day.  And once some of their outdoor play equipment had been taken off the truck, they played in the driveway and garage. 

We’re almost finished unpacking everything and only have a few more rooms that need stuff hung on the walls.  Beds for the kids are on order and should be here next week.  One bookshelf came in today and another one should be in soon (it got misrouted somewhere along the way) to hold 7 boxes of children’s books.  I have a few other odds and ends that I need to put the finishing touches on the house, and then the house will be done!

  Seaside House

Even with some crummy weather, we’re still loving it here in California!  We can’t wait get out and see some of the local sights!

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Scenic Highway One: Pacific Coast Highway

After our morning trail ride, we wound up in Ventura, California for the night.  We woke up the next morning, and drove up the road to Santa Barbara to meet one of my college friends for breakfast.  She brought my kids stickers and shared her fruit bowl with them.  Lindsey definitely knows the way to my kids hearts!

After breakfast, it was time for the last stretch of our trip.  Rather than following our GPS, we decided to take Scenic Highway 1 up the coast. 

Boy are we glad we took Hwy 1!  It was the most amazing drive I’ve ever been on.

The first place along the highway that we stopped was a few miles north of San Simeon.  Just below the overlook was one of the largest colonies of elephant seals in the nation!  It is the end of pupping season, so the coast was filled with seals.  Not that the pups really looked all that babyish at 3-4 feet long.  I was so enthralled with watching the seals, that I didn’t even think about taking any video footage of them.  I was still snap-happy with my camera though.  Seeing the seals was amazing.  I felt like I was looking through National Geographic.  We will definitely be making another trip to see the seals again at some point.

DSC_4359-1DSC_4361-1DSC_4364-1

DSC_4372-1DSC_4377-1DSC_4393-1

Our drive soon brought us to Big Sur.  Drizzly rain and fog hindered our view for a while, but when the weather did clear out a bit, we were in for some gorgeous views!

DSC_4410-1DSC_4415-1DSC_4419-1DSC_4422-1DSC_4424-1DSC_4440-2DSC_4442-1DSC_4450-1

What a great drive!  Next we’ll have to try Scenic Highway 1 headed north!

Happy Trails to You: Ponderosa Stables, Phoenix, Arizona

After leaving Tombstone, we drove into Phoenix for the night.  The next morning, we visited Ponderosa Stables for an hour-long trail ride.  The stables are located on the south side of the city in South Mountain Park, the largest municipal park in the world.  The park is part of the Sonoran Desert.  I had never been to the desert before (other than my trip to Las Vegas last spring), and I was in awe of the landscape.  I had no idea that I would find the desert to be so beautiful.

DSC_4313-1DSC_4346

Shawn, our trail guide, did a wonderful job teaching us about the area and the desert habitat.  Jarrod, the kids, and I were the only ones on the ride, so we were able to ask a lot of questions.  Trenton and I were on the horse directly behind Shawn, and Trenton was actually listening to a lot of what was being said and asking questions of his own.

DSC_4339-1 
Charlotte rode with Jarrod.  She was very mad in the beginning that she wasn’t on the same horse as Mommy. She calmed down after a little bit, got mad again, calmed down again, got mad again, and so on.  I think she did have an overall good time though.

DSC_4336-1

One of the first questions we had for our guide was about what types of wildlife we would be able to see on the ride.  He told us that a lot of the wildlife hadn’t come out yet for the spring, and that we would be lucky to see anything.  Well, it was our lucky day.  We saw 3 coyotes (Jarrod thinks that hearing a crying little person brought them out), a bull snake (out of view of the picture above, but it was right next to Jarrod’s horse), some rabbits, and a squirrel.

DSC_4332-1

I was hoping to see some birds, but they, must have all still been asleep in their snazzy cactus birdhouses.  Woodpeckers make the holes in the cactus, but all types of different birds use the cactus as their home.

DSC_4344-1 
The saguaro cactus is a very slow grower. The saguaro can take 75-100 years to grow its first arm.  Trenton was always on the lookout for ones that hadn’t grown any arms yet.

DSC_4345-1 
We had a wonderful time on our trail ride.  If we are ever driving through Phoenix again, we will definitely be making another stop at Ponderosa Stables.  We may even try one of their cookout rides!  I highly recommend this stable to anyone visiting the Phoenix area.  You won’t be disappointed!

Tombstone, Arizona and the O.K. Corral

To break things up a bit on our drive from Texas to California, we decided to stop and do some sightseeing.  Our first sightseeing stop was Tombstone, Arizona. 

Tombstone was made famous by 1881’s Gunfight at the O.K. Corral, where lawmen Virgil, Morgan, and Wyatt Earp, aided by Doc Holliday killed cowboys Billy Clanton and Tom and Frank McLaury. 

We got old time photos taken of two uncooperative kids (I don’t have my scanner set up yet, so no pictures of that), went on a stagecoach ride around town learning a lot of the history of the gunfight and of the town itself, and we watched the reenactment of the famous O.K. Corral gunfight.  All of the families with young children were sat next to the exit in case the kids got upset.  A little boy sitting next to us had to leave, but Trenton and Charlotte did fine.  Trenton asked a few questions, but didn’t understand enough about what was going on to make answering them difficult.

It was a fun afternoon out and a much needed break from a long day of driving.  If only the interpreters had looked like Kurt Russell and Val Kilmer….

DSC_4158-1DSC_4164-1DSC_4180-1DSC_4254-1DSC_4273-1

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Flamingo Party

Charlotte’s second birthday isn’t until St. Patrick’s Day, but we had a birthday party for her last weekend at my parent’s house.  Charlotte didn’t get a birthday party last year because we had to cancel due to sickness, and this year we’ll be in a brand new place for her birthday.  We figured our best bet was to do the party in Texas.

Since Charlotte didn’t have her party last year, I recycled last year’s theme – flamingos!

CharlotteInvitation (2)-1

DSC_3924-1DSC_3927-1DSC_3877-1DSC_3894-1DSC_3937-1 
The flamingo cupcakes came out of What’s New, Cupcake?.  They were fun to make, and weren’t all that hard to put together either.  A certain 3-year-old even helped out!

DSC_3880-1
I forgot to take a picture, but Mom and I made the yummiest pink popcorn.  I found the recipe here.

Charlotte had a great time at her party.  Now it’s time to start gathering ideas for next year!

DSC_3963-1DSC_3968-1DSC_3980-1DSC_3995-1DSC_4088-1

This post is linked to: The Sunday Showcase @ Mom to 2 Posh Lil Divas, The Mommy Club @ Crystal & Co., It’s Playtime @ Hands On: As We Grow