Monday, September 30, 2013

Apple Picking in Oak Glen 2013

Although the temps are still in the 90's, it's time to start focusing on fall activities and one of my favorites is our annual trip to Oak Glen. Over the last several years,we have not been loyal to any one apple farm but I do think Los Rios Rancho has some advantages over the others, most notably its gorgeous hiking trails. And while we still picked a small bag of apples, it was on the trail that we had the most fun.















I still want to review our summer bucket list and post our fall bucket list but I wanted to get these pictures up. In addition to our outing to Oak Glen, Jake played 2 soccer games on Saturday and we went to see Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2 (cute!) so it was a busy weekend. And speaking of busy, this week is promising to be CRAZY! I'm doing extra training for work in the evenings from 4-8pm, chaperoning two field trips and Saturday is Joe's birthday. So don't be surprised if this is the only post I manage to finish for the week.

Happy Fall!

Monday, September 23, 2013

Time to bid farewell to another epic summer

We spent the first official day of Fall saying good-bye to summer.

Sure, it may have seemed like summer ended when school started and our schedule filled up with soccer practices, dance classes, homework and meetings. However, the weather was still hot enough that we theoretically could still go swimming, although the time to do so was in short supply. Now with the temperatures taking just a slight dip and going even lower overnight, it is alas time to say good-bye.

The kids had a grand finale session in our pool. Usually they get in on a weekday evening, jump out 5 minutes later declaring it too cold and that's all she wrote. We start draining to tear it down. This year, they got in the pool on a Saturday after one of Jake's soccer games and spent 2+ hours playing in the water with the neighbors. It was quite lovely:



This past weekend, we took a trip to the water park where we have made good use of our passes this summer. As the water park will be closing after the last weekend in September, this was a last hooray and as promised, I took my phone in to snap a few pictures of the place we spent so much time this summer.







I wish I had more time to mourn the end of what seemed to be an especially short summer but then I glance at our ever growing fall bucket list and sip the first pumpkin spice latte of the season and I can't help but welcome the cool breeze that keeps our windows open and our air conditioner off.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Apparently it's not a fluke

Over the summer we introduced the kids to the classic board game Monopoly. I was skeptical whether they would like it or not, as I have memories (albeit fond) of some very long drawn out games.

But playing Monopoly is both family fun and nostalgia at its very finest and the kids really took to the game. I don't remember exactly, but we had a few games that were never finished and if I recall correctly, Joe won the first game we managed to complete.

HOWEVER, since those first few times, I have been keeping better track and Jadyn is an animal at Monopoly. The first time she won I figured it was just the luck of the draw, a fluke even. But no, she has managed to beat us two consecutive times since her first win. She has a very gutsy strategy of buying everything she can, making a few well-thought out trades and then immediately putting houses and eventually hotels on ALL her properties. Apparently her non-conservative approach is working for her. The high rent for landing on her properties eventually forces the other players to mortgage their properties leading to bankruptcy and an untimely demise.


I love watching the way she plays, her willingness to take a risk and how much fun she has doing it. Really, it is quite admirable. Sometimes I wish I had her courage. I think it's great.

Monday, September 16, 2013

More of this.....

Week days have been consumed with school and work and homework and cheer and tumbling and soccer practices and dentist appointments and meetings.

This past weekend was more of this......


Soccer! Jake's season has started off great. He is playing for the King Cobras and I am serving as team mom. Jake has already scored 3 goals this season and I just love watching him on the field.

 And more of this.....

Sunday, the Millers had us over to take the toys out. Here is Mr. Johnny jumping with Jadyn:


And Jake getting brave enough to try and jump. He said it felt like he was as high as Mr. Johnny and was a little disappointed when he saw the picture but I think it's awesome:


The Millers have 3 small quads, 1 big one and a dirt bike so when we take the toys out the kids are constantly playing "musical vehicles". It was just too precious when Michael took Jadyn out for a spin:


And although no one got a picture, I jumped on and rode one too. It's so much fun. I see a lot of this in our future and especially as the weather starts to cool down.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

In a Flash

Last weekend was supposed to be all about soccer. On Friday night we attended opening ceremonies, which is kind of like a fall festival with little game booths set up where you can play and win small prizes. As usual the kids had fun playing the games and I enjoyed chatting with people I hadn't seen in awhile. Then, Jake had his first game Saturday morning and then Sunday afternoon he had team pictures. In between that, our plans were to relax at home, finish up some chores and spend some time together as a family.

Here is Jake before his first game Saturday morning. Notice the beautiful blue sky?:


Well, we have been experiencing monsoon weather since the start of school with isolated thunderstorms and flash flood warnings. Those warnings came to fruition on Saturday afternoon when it began pouring rain and continued for quite some time. The kids had a blast running around in the summer storm while Joe tried his best to prevent ruts and runoff. I haven't seen it rain this hard in years. The washes were overwhelmed and the streets were flooded. I know it doesn't compare to what has occurred in Colorado this past week, but it was significant to us and driving around town, you can still see the after effects a week later.

So a soccer post can wait. Until then here are some pictures I took during the storm.


Jadyn running up and down our driveway:


Any excuse to dress up and break out the Nerf guns (Jake with our neighbor and friend):


A waterfall off the retaining wall:


So happy to be playing in the rain:


Oh yes, and somebody else got muddy and wet too:


Again, nothing says BOY then watching a Lego boat head down the stream created by heavy rains:


While the kids enjoyed the rain and we only suffered minor damage to our yard, others were not so lucky and my heart goes out to those who were so adversely affected by the storm, not to mention those in other states dealing with much worse. Rain is always welcome but flooding? Not so much.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Labor Day Weekend

After getting through the first week back at school, we were all ready for a break and a 3 day weekend was just what we needed.

Friday night we went to the drive in and saw two great family films - Planes and Percy Jackson Sea of Monsters. The kids somehow managed to stay up for both movies and listen to Joe grumble about how much they had deviated from the books in the Percy Jackson series.

The rest of the weekend was a blur of friends coming over, us going over there and perhaps spawned by our foray with the Go-Karts during vacation but The Millers got almost all of their quads and dirt bikes running and the kids subsequently acquired a very expensive new hobby.



In all seriousness though, this is something that is absolutely perfect for where we live and Joe and I have talked about what a great family activity it would be. Did I mention the kids LOVED it?

Jadyn took awhile to warm up, first riding as a passenger. Once she finally got up the nerve to ride on her own, we could not get her OFF. She rode the most between her and the three boys. I wish you could see the grin hiding behind the front of the helmet. It never left her face.




We won't get fall weather until we approach Halloween but as soon as it cools down, I am jumping on one of these myself. So much fun!

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Beach Vacation Day 3: Boulders and Boomers

Although we were technically at the beach for 4 days, the last day was mostly packing up and going home so this is going to conclude my summation of our beach trip. Not to mention the fact that life has been so busy since back to school, it's been almost 2 weeks since we got back. It's time to wrap this up!

Wednesday was by far our most laid back day. We all went out in the morning for a walk along the rock jetty, a favorite tradition for the kids. The jetty has a fairly decent path at the beginning but as your progress further out, the path gives way to boulders and you are essentially rock scrambling. On this particular outing we made it the furthest we ever have.

I don't know if this picture truly represents how far out we are, but it's a good distance:


We always stop at this same location for a family photo every year:


And I'm including this picture so you can get a better idea of the rocks, plus Oceanside Harbor is in the background.


Unfortunately, I returned from our walk a little (lot) banged up. I lost my footing and took a layer of skin off my ankle and jammed my toe, which has subsequently resulted in the very slow process of losing my big toenail. I guess I should be glad that flip-flop season is almost over because guys, it isn't pretty!

After spending some time on the beach and in the water, our crew got cleaned up and headed out to Boomers for a very competitive game of mini-golf among the adults. Tara won the prize (girl power) but more importantly, I kept my tradition of beating Cruz. The kids had a blast playing laser tag and bumper boating.


They also rode as passengers on the Go-Karts, which also got aggressive between *ahem* certain members of our group.



We finished off our time there with some video games before heading over to BJ's Brewery for dinner and back to the cottage for another bonfire with Smore's. It was a great way to end our last evening at the beach and I can't wait for next time.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Beach Vacation Day 2: Sea World San Diego

Last year when we planned our beach vacation, we let the kids decide which amusement park to go to and despite having had a season pass and going numerous times, they still choose Legoland. SOOO, this year we didn't give them a choice. We hadn't been to Sea World since Jake was 4 and Jadyn was 2. Jake may have remembered vaguely but Jadyn had no recollection at all and we all know how much Jadyn loves, loves, loves animals. It also happens to be my favorite. I would choose Sea World over Disneyland, Legoland, Knott's Berry Farm or Magic Mountain every time. I could literally sit and watch the emperor penguins and sea otters ALL DAY LONG. I was super excited.

And what better way to start a long day then by fueling up with breakfast at Rubys?!?!?:


After arriving, we did a quick ride and then headed over for the first Shamu show of the day. The kids were just as awestruck as I imagined they would be. It really is amazing:


And the kids saw how wet the people got in the splash zone and instead of thinking how smart we were to be sitting up high, they begged to sit in the splash zone for the next show. Go figure:


I opted out of riding Shipwreck Rapids, which allowed me the chance to get this great picture of our crew before heading under a bridge:


We got to see and feel starfish:


and feed the bat rays:


We got to see the beautiful bright salmon color of the flamingos:


and watch and hear the seal lions as they are fed:


More amazing interactions and tricks during the dolphin show:


and the kids were still all smiles after getting soaked in the splash zone:


Not pictured were the walks we took through the shark and penguin encounters, the polar bears and beluga whales we saw on the Wild Artic and the smiles we had after riding rollercoasters like the new Manta (more than once!). It was a fun day.

And what can I say? Boys will be boys.


Once we left the park, we stopped to eat dinner and headed back to the cottage exhausted and content. But the best part? Our tickets included free admission for the rest of the year so we will definitely be making a trip back sometime this fall.