Tuesday, May 27, 2008

I have to say it again. I have THE BEST husband! Ladies, feel free to pass this blog along to your guys, but don't tell them where we live. I don't want anyone hunting down Brian. He has set the bar pretty high this time. He planned our anniversary trip to the beach, entirely himself, with a big surprise for me. We had an amazing weekend.

We started out our trip at the car rental place. He had reserved a convertible for our trip. This was the part that I suggested. We usually rent a car for road trips, so I thought it would cool to cruise Highway 1 (the coast highway, which runs right along the beach) with the top down and wind blowing in our hair, reminiscent of the 50's beach movies. Well, we get to the rental place and the person who had last rented the convertible that we were supposed use, never came back. It was a MUSTANG CONVERTIBLE. How cool would it be for a 30-something couple to cruise the beach in a mutang convertibe? So, we didn't get a convertible. Now some people would see this as a bad omen for our trip. Not me, I said, "If this is the only hiccup for this trip, we are in for a great weekend." I am a "glass half full kind of girl." They gave us a nice discount on a full size car, which was just about enough to pay for the gas for the weekend.

We arrive at our hotel prominently located RIGHT ON THE BEACH! The views from the lobby were amazing. I just stood at the window (by the fireplace, because it was a bit chilly) mesmorized, while Brian checked us in. He handed me the room key and dinner vouchers for both nights. He had requested the "romance package." Ooh la la.

Then we went to our room. We had champagne, chocolate truffles and bubble bath confetti. The room was so pretty.

This was the view from the bed!
This was the view from the door.
And if you looked the other way...
We strolled the beach the first day. Then we went to Target (yes, they are everywhere) because Brian forgot his swim suit. We soaked in the hot tub and relaxed. It was amazing after the crazy few week I have had. Then we went to dinner.
This was dinner the first night.
I have had a dream ever since I was in 5th grade and watched Voyage of the Mimi. Why yes, that was Ben Afleck at 13, lol. I have always to go whale watching. I think I was mentioned it on just about every trip to the beach in our 10+ year together. Well, for our anniversary (last Thursday) he gave me the reservations for our whale watching tour. I was SO excited! Sunday morning we boarded the boat for our tour.
While there is no guarantee of seeing whales on any given tour, humpback whales feed in the Monterey Bay on a regular basis. There were people in the bay in kayaks! I told Brian, I would freak out if I were out the in a kayak and a whale spouted near by. They were close enough to get whale snot on them (Sorry about that visual, lol). We were not far out at all when we got our first sighting. Humpback whales! They were close enough the could have been seen from land with binoculars. COOL! They were really hard to get photos of because by the time they spout and you turn your camera to where they were, they were going under again. And you never know when they are going to come back up.
I got several photos like this, just the fin as he going back under.
This is why they are called "humpbacks." They hump their backs as they go under. The tighter the hump usually means they are going for a deeper dive and that they are going to "fluke" their tail up. There are two whale fins in this photo.
Of course, everyone wants to get the fluke picture.
Not bad. Notive the white on this tail? It's like a finger print for a whale. No two are exactly alike.
Killer whales (also known as orcas, such as Shamu) are occasionally seen in the bay, but more often in the deeper waters outside the bay. The tour guide said there is about 15% chance of seeing killer whales this time of year. So, I wasn't getting my hopes up. The seas were very calm on Sunday and she said that increased our chances of seeing killer whales...to about 20%. Still not getting my hopes.
Guess what? Killer whales were spotted by another whale tour boat, so we went out to where they were and got to watch a pod of killer whales. There was on big male and several smaller ones (females? babies? not really sure. Don't really care). These guys were really hard to photograph. Again they are fast, and like the humpbacks, by the time you see them spout, they are going back down. They are recognized by their tall dorsal fin.
I got alot of photos like this as they were going back under.
Here's another, and there a couple in the background.
I love this one!
Here is the pod. I love this one too!
Mental note to self: Next time you are taking the boat ride of a lifetime, remember to charge the battery for your camera. My battery died about halfway through the tour. I did get some good photos and I'm happy for that. I will just have to remember the rest of my whale friends.
This is us on the boat. The last photo before my camera died.
The hotel restaurant provided an awesome view. I took these photos at dinner Sunday night (after charging my camera), of the sunset over the ocean. I just love how the colors changed as the sun went down.

Oh, remember that mustang convertible that we didn't get? Well, this car was at our hotel and seemed to always be parked by us, like it was taunting us. Could it have been the missing mustang? Well, I wouldn't have wanted to come back either.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

This post is dedicated to the love of my life. Brian, I am very lucky to have you in my life. I realize that on almost a daily basis. In my career, you sometimes get to see the worst of the worst and I then I come home to the most amazing family and husband I could have asked for. Sometimes, I don't even have to look outside the family to realize I got "the pick of the litter." Bet you feel the same way ;-)

Nine years ago today, I made a promise to love, honor and cherish you. And I had no idea then that I could love you any more than I did that day. But, over the years the love has grown (so has our family, funny how that works). I can't even imagine where we will be in another nine years (grandparents?). All I know is that I want you to be on the journey with me. It doesn't really even matter where we end up (as long as it is far away from here).
So, here is a flashback to that day (when I was thinner and you had more hair) when we made a promise before God, our family, friends and a couple hundred Japanese tourists!
Don't we look happy!
This is such a pretty picture!
Wonder what she is thinking?

Wonder what he is thinking?

This is Joshua; he was so little. Now he's taller than both of us!

This is one of my favorites photos from our wedding.

There were two buses of tourists from Japan at the Falls.

They all watched our ceremony and took pictures, so we wanted one of them too!

The end of a long, fun day.

Check out my wedding shoes: platform tennis shoes.

What else would you where to hike a mountain?

Here's to many more, my love. Many more years of happiness, craziness, love.

I love you!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Sunday, May 18, 2008

I have for a long time had issues with the philosophy of boy scouts and since I have three boys, that has pretty ruled out scouting for our family. But, I must say that I have longed for the comraderie of scouting, the excuses to do fun outdoorsy things and earn patches and go camping with friends. Not that we need an excuse to do fun outdoorsy things, we love the outdoors, but it's fun to earn patches. Plus, it's nice to share ideas with other people for things to do.
SO! The world of scouting has opened up to us. Yesterday, we attended our first spiral scouts meeting! (I know Aimee is so jealous) I am so excited about this. Spiral scouts are interfaith, inclusive, co-ed, all values I want to instill in my boys! (Yes, I can be a Christian, a democrat and a spiral scout, how about that!)
Our meeting was held at the Discovery Center, which is a not too well know gem in our area. I have been there on a few field trips and every time I go I think, I need to bring the kids here more often. It's an amazing place to explore stuff.

Here is Nate peering out the window of a
replica of Saturn IV rocket capsule (I think).

This is the worm farm, which was really cool to Nate.
Jacob would rather not get his hands dirty.

Then there was this maze. Wondered who would emerge first Brian or Nate. You never know where that child will go, he makes his own path :-)

Then there was the actual spiral scouts meeting. Our cirlce leader rocks. She has been working on this baby for a long time and here it is. Our first meeting was kind of a get to know each other and learn a bit about spiral scouts. We learned a new song too. And had snacks. What more could you ask for? It was a great start. I asked Jacob, my skeptic, what he thought, if he wanted to join. He said he would try it for a while. That's a big commitment for him. He is looking forward to camping (even if he has to leave his puppy with grandma).

This was our candle lighting ceremony. The center candle represents our new friendships. The other candles represent the elements. I was going to list them, but I can't remember them all (sorry Beckie). Bad scout mom. I will bring snacks, I'm good at that :-)

Our getting to know each other activity: Beckie handed out the worng name tags to each scout; they had to find out who had theirs and introduce themselves. Of course it was cute when she first handed them out and everyone protested that she gave them the wrong names.

Our first "craft" project was a group mural. Each scout was to write their name and draw something they wanted to or learn in spiral scouts. Neat idea.

Circle leader Russel with Nate.

Circle leader Beckie with Jacob, and a new friend.

These were the spiral scouts at our first meeting. I there were a few who couldn't make it. But, I think we had a good turn out and have a good size group to start with. Their uniform with consist of the dark green polo shirts and khaki pants/shorts. I didn't want to buy them until we were sure we were going to do this. (we're sure)

We concluded our meeting in a circle with "pass the squeeze." The circle leader squeezed a scout's hand (happened to be Nate), then he squeezed the next hanf and so forth around the cirlce. Neat way to end the meeting.

We had a great time and are looking forward to many exciting adventures in scouting!