Monday, April 30, 2012

WaWa’s Vegetables

Let me introduce you to one of the greatest guys I know – my WaWa.

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WaWa loves his garden (as evidenced by his posing for a picture in it!).  When he and Nanny used to live out in the country, his garden was half an acre.  I have memories of digging for potatoes from the time I was little bitty.  I wasn’t a fan of vegetables at all back then, but boy did I like helping in the garden. 

I’m sure that my mom and her brothers and sister helped in the garden while they were growing up too, although I’m not sure it was as much fun for them. 

The gardening has even spread to another generation as my kids have helped WaWa plant…

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…and harvest his vegetables.

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Today is WaWa’s 80th birthday.  His spring has been pretty busy, and he wasn’t able to get a garden planted.  When I was brainstorming what we could get WaWa for his birthday (it had to be something that would make it through the mail to Texas), I decided that Trenton and Charlotte could “grow” some vegetables for him.

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The kids had so much fun “growing” vegetables.  They used bubble wrap to paint the corn, a footprint and a handprint (minus the thumb) to make the carrot, a makeup removal pad for the tomato, and a round sponge brush for the cauliflower.  You shouldn’t have grass in a garden, but we figured that a little Easter grass tying everything together would be okay. 

Even though WaWa can’t eat these vegetables, we hope that he enjoys looking at them.

Happy Birthday, WaWa!  We love you!

 

This post is linked to: It’s Playtime! @ The Imagination Tree, The Sunday Showcase @ Mom to 2 Posh Lil Divas

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Roaring Camp Railroads & Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park

Within our first month of living in Monterey, we met five Aggies totally randomly.  So when Aggie Muster rolled around last weekend, we were really excited to meet more.

We spent most of the afternoon getting to know a really nice couple, Jim and Amanda, from about 40 minutes north of here.  A few days after Muster, Amanda messaged me asking if we wanted to get together this weekend. 

Our original plan was to go strawberry picking, but after Amanda talked to some farms and found out that the strawberries aren’t quite ready yet, she suggested that we go for a hike through the redwood forest.

We picked Amanda and Jim up yesterday morning and headed out to Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park in the Santa Cruz Mountains.  As soon as we pulled up to the park ranger booth, we heard a loud train whistle.  Jim and Amanda had forgotten that Roaring Camp Railroads butted right up to the state park.  So of course the two little kids (and maybe a few big kids) wanted to check it out.

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We got to the ticket counter just in time to buy tickets and board the 11am train pulled by the Sonora Shay Engine #7, built in 1911.

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It wasn’t long before our steam engine was pulling us though the redwood forest on our way up Bear Mountain.
 
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042812_4416(Photo courtesy of Amanda Hickernell)

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Once we reached the top of the mountain, we were given about 10-15 minutes to get off the train, snap pictures, take potty/diaper breaks, and look around the forest.

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Then it was back down the mountain.  Once we got back to the train station, it was time for lunch and looking around Roaring Camp a bit more.

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(Photo courtesy of Amanda Hickernell)

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It was then time to walk on over to Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park.  Well, everyone else walked while Trenton hitched a ride on his new best friend.

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The trees were HUGE!  And to think that there are redwoods even bigger than these in northern California is unfathomable.
 
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We came across a cross-section of a redwood that fell in 1934.  Charlotte thought she could push it over.

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Wanna know how old it was?

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(Photo courtesy of Amanda Hickernell)

Yeah, that’s right – oooooooold.

And the trees weren’t just big around.  They were super duper tall too.  One of the tallest trees in the park stands at about 270 feet – almost as tall as the Statue of Liberty.

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(Photo courtesy of Amanda Hickernell)

The park also had some trees that people could walk in along the trail.  There were six people inside this one at one time.  And there was still room for more!

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We even found a banana slug on our walk!
 
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Charlotte was determined to touch this thing, and though I finally pulled her away from it, she kept searching for more over the fence every time we stopped.

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What an awesome day exploring the redwoods by rail and by foot.  Thanks to Jim and Amanda for showing us around!

A Change of Pace

In the six years that Jarrod and I have been married, Jarrod has spent A LOT of time away from home (I quit keeping track of precisely how much because it was just depressing).  That’s why when we got two year orders to Naval Postgraduate School, we were more than ready for the change of pace. 

The program that Jarrod is a student in, Operations Research, is a fairly tough one, and I know that once he gets a little further into it, there may be nights that he doesn’t make it home in time to tuck the kids in for the night.  But he’ll at least be home every night.  I tease that I may just have to send him away for a while since I’m not used to having him home so much!

And it’s really nice being at a place where the kids and I can go out and meet Daddy at school for a picnic lunch.

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We are welcoming this change of pace with open arms!

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Clicking

I will often have non-military people ask me, “Isn’t it hard moving all the time?”.  Well, yes and no. 

Yes, the actual process of packing and unpacking is no fun.  Neither is leaving friends.  But getting to live in a new area every few years and explore all that it has to offer is wonderful.

It’s fairly easy to meet other military wives at each new station, but I’m always a little apprehensive about how long it will take to meet someone that I’ll just “click” with.

In our first couple weeks here in Monterey, we met a few other families at the playground down the street from our house and a few more at church.  They were all really nice and welcoming. 

Then one day I was on a facebook group for military moms here, and I saw a post by a girl named Staci.  And Staci had the same uncommon last name as our friend, Adam, that we knew from Guam.  I clicked on Staci’s profile, and saw that Adam was a mutual friend of ours.  Without giving myself time to chicken out, I messaged Staci asking if she was Adam’s sister-in-law (I knew Adam had a brother in the military and was wondering if this was the brother’s wife). 

I was sure that Staci was going to think I was some sort of loon for just randomly messaging her, but lo and behold, I got an email back from her.  And she wanted to have us over for dinner! 

Since having dinner with Staci, her husband Josh, and their kids, Daniel, John, and Marian, they have been over to our house for dinner, we’ve done playdates, and even gone on a hike (two mommies and five kids ages five and under = a fun time!).
 
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Garland Ranch Regional Park.  All five of these kids had walking sticks at one point.  And no eyes were poked out!

Staci and I “clicked.”  We have much in common.  A love of Pinterest, Hunger Games, dealing with picky eaters, sight-seeing, and more. 

My kids love the Zaker kids.  Trenton and John will be in the same preschool class in the fall.  Charlotte and Marian have fun following the boys around and trying to do everything they do.  Daniel tells Trenton stories and teaches him new things.  Charlotte is infatuated with John.  She brings me the magnadoodle and tells me to “draw John” at least ten times a day.  But then when she sees him, she ignores him.  How does my two year old already know the game?

I’m so glad that I had the courage to send Staci that first message because we now have a wonderful family that we get to hang out and have fun with.  And what better place to do that than in beautiful California!

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I’m sure that you will be hearing a lot more about the Zaker crew, but if you want to get to know them a bit better, go and Follow the Drum.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Two-Year Photos at Carmel Beach

With picturesque Carmel Beach just a little way down the road from us, I knew I had the perfect spot to capture Charlotte’s 2-year photos.  I decided to do them myself this year, and while they aren’t perfect, I’m really happy with how they turned out.  I’m still learning my way around manual mode with my camera (my New Year’s resolution). 

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The surf came up and caught Charlotte’s toes when we were just about finished taking pictures.  She apparently wasn’t a fan of the cold water!

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Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Missing the Bluebonnets

Every spring, my Facebook newsfeed is inundated with pictures of bluebonnets.  And every spring I wonder why I never plan a trip back home for bluebonnet season. 

This year was no different.  I saw so many cute pictures of little kids in bluebonnets and wondered if I would ever have the chance to pose my two in a field of blue.

And then I noticed this little gem just down the road from our house…

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I’m pretty sure that these aren’t true Texas Bluebonnets, they have a little purple in them and the leaves are a little different, but they are close enough for me!

We rolled the wagon down to this little patch this evening to snap some photos.  I don’t always have the most willing participants, but the promise of a trip to the playground on the way home helped a little.

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There were some more flowers nearby, so we checked them out too.

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There are some pretty patches of poppies a little bit farther down the road.  I didn’t want to overdo it today, but I’m hoping to get some pictures of them soon.