Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Oakland Temple and more beach!

We kept the rental car for this day, because we planned on driving over the Bay Bridge to go to the Oakland Temple.  Caleb and Rob had a great time at the temple, Caleb was the only youth doing baptisms that day.  Also, the moment the kids woke up they were asking to go back to the beach.  That was not the original plan, but we put it on the schedule.  It was a great day to go to the beach and have fun.
 The Oakland Temple
 Some great photo skills from Haley...
Or William, they both like to snatch the camera and do their magic.
 I liked these plants, they would curve off in different directions and looked like some type of Dr. Seuss plant.
Stopped off for lunch is Salsalito.
Beach time, take 2.  This time we took a change of clothes....we were prepared.
 A boy (thats Peter), setting a stick free in the ocean.  He was so happy to be there, playing in the mud and sand, and loved getting wet.
 Sea Ooze!  The kids found this all over the beach.  They wanted to save it but when we got back to the apartment it had started to disintegrate.  I want to say it was some part of a jellyfish, but what ever  it was....the kids had fun finding it and holding it.
 They could have stayed for hours and hours at the beach!  They could not get enough of the waves and water.
 They loved the sand and it was great weather this day.  Sunny and not too windy.
 More waves, getting wet, and putting off to the VERY last minute of leaving.
Peter approved.  It was terrific!

Muir Woods, the Beach, Day 4

Such a terrific day!  For this trip we decided to rent a mini van.  Learned on this trip.  GPS is great.  Rob really dislikes navigating new, big cities in a car....he loves public transportation.  The rest of us, loved the convenience of the rental, however the kids were crazy, silly the entire time.  Led to some exasperated parents.   However, our destination for the day was Muir Woods, it did not disappoint.
 It was beautiful!
 Everywhere you looked it was green.  With a beautiful stream running through.
 The trees were not a large as maybe the redwood forest, but they were so tall and beautiful.  They had signs up all throughout telling people to try and be quite, to enjoy the purity of nature.  Such a beautiful experience.
 Massive and beautiful.
 It was neat to be together and experience it together.  We are such an outdoor family, it makes us happier.
 As we were leaving the park we even had the chance to see some new fox kits that had a den right by the boardwalk.  William was in heaven.
 So, after Muir Woods Rob decided since we were so close we should stop by Muir Beach.  We were not prepared for this.  Had I known, I would have brought a change of clothes....
 As it was, everyone walked away soaking wet and very happy with the impromptu beach trip.
They built forts in the sand, added rocks and sea weed.  Ran from the waves, played together and loved every minute of it.  It was a successful day!

Public transit, walking, tea gardens, Coit

When looking up things to do in San Francisco we found this pretty place, the Japanese Tea Gardens. It looked lovely, and we decided to go their for day 3.  We had also decided to try and use public transportation as much as possible.  A few things were discovered, the tea gardens were no where close to our apartment so that meant a very long bus ride there.  The majority of our family does not appreciate the long wait time of public transit.  It was cold that day.  Like, we were not prepared to be that far away from the apartment and tired.
 We made the most of it.  The gardens were very pretty.  Pretty koi, cool little paths to explore.
 After that we walked through the very large park, VERY LARGE, for a bit.  But like I said, we were all cold and tired from the long bus ride, so we headed back to the apartment.  We decided to split up.  Peter was done adventuring for the day, but Rob wanted to explore more.  Peter and I hung out, he played plants, read and we went for a walk.
 Rob took everyone else to see some sites.  While they grabbed lunch, I ran them over some supplies. Pants for Haley, anther jacket for William, more water and the like.  They went to see Coit tower.
 They visited Lombard Street.  Looked very cool and twisty.
 They even rode a trolley car.  Again, more waiting for public transit but they had fuller tummies and warmer clothes, so they were a bit happier.
One other cool thing to remember about our apartment, our view was of the Bay Bridge.  Cool in the day because we would always see cargo ships go by, ferries, sail boats, or tiny (toy size compared to the cargo ships) tug boats.  At night the Bay Bridge lights up and does a very great show of lights.  It was so cool to watch!  They would have images of fish, clouds, a starry sky, waves.... tons of different images all with these white lights moving across the bridge.  Fun little details making it a neat time.

Seeing San Francisco and the Whales

Our family has always talked about wanting to see San Francisco, CA.  About seeing the Golden Gate Bridge and I personally have always wanted to go whale watching.  Well, about 2 months ago, Rob's boss asked him if we wanted to have the San Francisco apartment for a week in May.  When Rob told me about it, I have to be honest, my first thought was not, "YES!"  My first thoughts were, "Rob, that is the end of school.  That is end of year testing.  I have to figure this out."  Yeah, I am an old mom.  Spontaneity is pretty much gone.  So sad.  However, after talking with a bunch of teachers, and A LOT of work on Caleb's part to get ahead of the game, we headed to San Francisco.
 Airport time.  Not too exciting.  We made it there.  All luggage in tow and treats to eat.
 Since we would be on vacation for William's birthday, and the flight attendant found out it would be his birthday that next day, the nice man gave William a huge stash of airplane goodies.  The only bad moment of the flight was when Haley's ears became painful upon landing.  She was tired and would not listen to any of my remedies.  Thankfully, she was tough enough to only freak out enough for our family to know about it, none of the other passengers heard her.  She was fine after an hour and we vowed to have gum for her on the return trip.  After arriving in San Francisco and riding a VERY LOUD subway, and then walking what seemed like a long time, we made it to the apartment.  Terrific view and comfortable surroundings.  One complaint, food in San Fran is expensive!
 Our first full day in San Francisco was also William's birthday!  Happy 9th!  We decided to go whale watching.  I was so worried about fog preventing us from seeing the whales.  But nope, we had success.  The boat drivers said we were very fortunate that the water was so calm that day.  I am glad because that meant smooth riding (for the most part) and none of us go sea sick (as least too bad. Peter says he got sick, and I definitely got a headache).  Phew.
 We drove underneath the Golden Gate Bridge.  Super fun!
 Whales!  We estimate that we saw about 5-6.  Two mothers with their calves and then another two.  The other 2 we only saw once, and they had breached from the water!  So exciting to see them jump. However, the ones that did jump were very far from our boat so only a few people saw them.
 For the most part the whales did not get too close to the boat.  But we did have one "friendly" whale that came pretty close.  It was awesome to see their spouts (first sign a whale was in the area), then to watch them glide through the water and every now and then we would see their tail as they were going for a deep dive.  Very cool experience.
We had gone out a long ways from the bridge so our ride back was pretty long.  And by the time we made it back to the dock, we were all so tired!  When we made it back to the apartment the only people that did not take a nap were Haley and Peter.  We were worn out.  After we woke up, we got William a tasty dinner of chicken strips and fries and called it a day.  A great first day.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Eagle Scout

It is official
Robert Caleb Gray received his Eagle the 10th of May, 2017!!!
 The members of the board that took care of the Board of Review: Bishop Underwood, Aaron Buck, Brother Reynolds, and Brother Swenson.  Bishop Underwood said that when Caleb answered their questions the responses came from his heart.  They said you could tell he had not been "prepped" before hand to know what to say, he just spoke naturally.  Such an amazing kid!  Wow, he earned it!  Fun detail to remember is that Bishop Underwood interviewed Caleb for his baptism....and now here he is, helping Caleb make those final steps to his Eagle.
Proud parents and his scout master, Brother Evans.  Caleb has a great support group all around.  So far, at the date of his Eagle, Caleb earned 35 merit badges.  He has a few more in the works, and he is 13 years old.  Quite the accomplishment for such a great kid!  He set his mind to it and has learned a lot.  Sometimes he would not be motivated, but with encouragement and help, he remembered what he wanted.  Anything is possible with a good attitude and lots of work.  He is awesome!

Its The Little Things

One of the quotes that I am reminded of often is, "The joy of motherhood comes in moments." Because lets face it, life is not always sunshine and smiles.  However, there are moments when it all comes together and you remember that this is why you keep trying and giving.
 Haley was given the award at her school for Student of the Month in May.  She was so happy!  Then came an even better treat, one of her closest friends was receiving the award at the same time.  Happy girls.
 Haley and I took a trip to Gardner Village to see the Fairies.  Now, normally I DO NOT like Gardner Village.  The witches at Halloween are ugly and so are the Elves at Christmas time, in my opinion.  But the Fairies, it was magical and cute and fun!  The fairies are small, so they are not overwhelming.  And all of the different Fairy Gardens they have are so creative and so detailed.  Now I have 2 reasons to go to Gardener Village: indoor soccer and Fairy Gardens.
 They were so cool, that we have tried to start our own.  Not nearly as magical or fancy, but still a work in progress.
 Even William loved the gardens and sketched some of his favorite houses.
 Haley's kindergarten class has been appointed by the preschool as caterpillar baby sitters.  Haley could not be more thrilled to watch those little caterpillars develop.
 Keeper!  Caleb was chosen as starting keeper for his game this last Saturday, he gave it his best and walked away, maybe not with a win, but with the ability to say he gave it his all.
 Finally, on Sunday we visited with one of the coolest families, the Kjars.  We traveled to Sugarhouse park to have a picnic, see the baby ducks and explore.  Haley snagged this stick and went everywhere with it.  As an added "little thing" moment to remember, Amelia also had a stick that her mom kept "losing."  But Haley, being a true friend, kept finding the stick for Amelia and giving it back to her.  So awesome!
This cool family.  They are on their way across America and we will miss them a lot!  So, to send them off the kids all played in a stream and then ended the night with a major grass fight!  Enjoying time together is definitely a happy moment.