Friday, February 20, 2009

AMGEN Tour of California

Apparently our population almost doubled yesterday when the AMGEN Tour came here. It's the first time they've come through the north county, and it was a big deal for our little town. The kids got off school early, since half the roads were closed.
I wasn't really planning on going (I usually try to avoid big crowds when it's just me and the boys), but the school got our kids all excited about it. In fact Spencer's teacher has been showing the class footage of the race all week. Then I found out that it would be entering our town about a block or two from our house. So that definitely sounded do-able. I woke Brennan up early from his nap and put him in the stroller while the other boys rode bikes and scooters. We got there an hour early, since we didn't know exactly when they were coming, and we got front row seats right at the turn, giving us a great view and forcing the riders to slow down at least a tad so we could see them even better. I was a little concerned about boredom, waiting for an hour with nothing to do, but then some lady drove by handing out free boxes of yellow chalk for people to decorate the streets and sidewalks for the Lance Armstrong foundation. We were all pretty much covered in yellow from head to toe by the time the bikers arrived. The excitement grew as more people gathered and tons of police cars and motorcycles and photo cars and helicopters arrived.
Here's the lead group. Yesterday's race was the longest stage at 134.3 miles, and the winner did it in 5 hours 7 1/2 minutes. Lance came in 19th and remains in 4th place overall. There was a short gap, and then the main group sped by. There were tons of them, and they were going so fast around that turn. I thought they would have been more spread out than that. It looked like it was over and people were starting to leave when 2 more stragglers went by, and everyone cheered the loudest for them. The whole thing was very exciting, and it was cool to think that the fastest bikers in the world were right here in our little town.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Snow Trip

We had an awesome trip to the snow! We were a little bit nervous about going when we saw that there was a winter weather warning for Monday and Tuesday (exactly when we were going) with a possible 2-3 feet of snow and high winds. Hmmm. But the cabin was reserved, everyone was off work and school for President's day, and we were all fairly healthy; we figured - better to go when there's snow than no snow. So we packed the snow chains as well as extra clothes and food in case we got snowed in and headed up yesterday morning. It ended up not being too bad for travel. We didn't hit snow until the last 1000 feet of elevation. Then Dave put the chains on and drove nice and slow for the last few miles. It snowed heavily all day and continued until this morning, but the snow plows were going pretty constantly.
It's a good thing I got a couple pictures of Brennan when we first got there, because that's pretty much all he saw of the snow. He decided to stay inside the cozy cabin the rest of the time. Then he took a nice long nap while the rest of us enjoyed the snow.
The snow was perfect for snowballs and snowmen - wet and easy to pack.
They spent hours playing in the snow - sledding and snowball fighting, Dave against the boys. They especially liked climbing the huge mountains of snow made by the snow plows, playing king of the mountain, and making forts at the top.
I was amazed by their stamina. It really wasn't too windy or cold out, and they didn't seem to notice that their hands and feet were getting wet. Dave said this was the first snow trip where they wore him out, instead of the other way around. Usually they're ready to come in much sooner than he is. Here's Spencer in his fort getting ready to throw a snow ball at Dave. I had to be careful not to get in the line of fire. Dallin hit me once and I had to explain the cardinal rule - don't ever hit mom with snow. It's a dad thing, not a mom thing. Plus I had the camera, and I didn't want to get it wet.
They stopped by the cabin for hot chocolate and dinner from 4-5, and then they went right back out for another hour and a half of sledding! I started to worry when it got dark and the temperature dropped and they weren't back yet, but Dave was with them and he said they just didn't want to stop. Even Dallin would be the first one to get to the top of the huge hill and didn't care when his face got covered with snow on the way down.
I'm the smart one staying warm and dry at the cabin. Once I got the pictures I wanted, I had no reason to be outside anymore. So I stayed inside and read my book and enjoyed looking out the windows at the beautiful falling snow. Good-bye snow. Here's our last shot of the snow-heavy trees as we headed out this morning. So pretty! I'm sure glad I wasn't the one driving in it. We got back in time for Dave to go to work after lunch, and he brought the staff a little cooler full of snow. They shrieked in excitement and threw snowballs at each other.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

We've actually had some weather here

(see the little white streaks? that's the hail)
We've had more weather here in the past week than we've had in a year. First it just rained on and off for days, which is great because we keep hearing how dry this winter has been (seriously, they say that every year). Then things really got exciting with hail on Saturday. It only lasted a few minutes, but we got the boys out of their bath in time to see it (they had been playing out in the mud). Then Dave said it snowed on his way to work Monday; it wasn't sticking to the road, but snow of any kind is rare around here. Yesterday we booked our annual trip to the snow. We're staying in the same cabin we went to last year, which is perfect because there's a huge sledding hill right behind it. I get to stay inside and sip hot chocolate with a napping toddler while Dave and the older boys are happily sledding for hours on end. I am not looking forward to the packing, cold hands and feet, and piles of wet clothes, but I do enjoy taking pictures of the kids all bundled up in the snow. It's probably the main reason I go. That and the hot chocolate. Oh, and I just made Russian Refresher Mix, so we'll bring that too.
Whenever it rains I sing the Rainy Day Song from Sesame Street to my kids, so I got all excited when I found it online. Get ready to take a trip down memory lane.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

cousins visit

This week Kristen and I went down to have lunch with my mom and my cousins Heather and Michiko, who are visiting from Idaho and L.A. We got to meet their sweet little girls. Here's Michiko and Cosette, 7 months
Heather and Jordan, 17 months

Monday, February 2, 2009

Chef Dallin

Dave went home early from church yesterday because he didn't feel good. And he took Dallin and Brennan with him because Dallin slept through sacrament meeting and woke up a mess and Brennan missed his morning nap. The only way Dave could get Dallin happy at home was to ask for his help with dinner.Great pictures, Dave. First he cut the veggies to go on our cheese steak sandwiches. Then he made the fruit salad by himself. He did a great job - everything was perfectly sized.

He especially enjoyed tenderizing the meat.

And finally he baked the curly fries. Cooking just makes this chef happy. He keeps asking me when we're going to put a big "Dallin's Restaurant" sign on our roof.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Saturday activities

Yesterday Dave went rock climbing with a friend. They haven't gone in almost a year, and he was excited it finally worked out. They went to a place 90 minutes away, but the first 2 climbs they tried were closed due to nesting birds. That was a bummer because they were east-facing walls, meaning they warmed up first in the sun. Cold rocks are tough to climb because it's hard to hold on with numb fingers. But they did manage to find a couple of good climbs. He came home all happy and sore, which go hand in hand with Dave. Then he took all the boys on a hike down by the riverbed. Spencer's been wanting to go there ever since the cub scouts had a Chumash Indian guest speaker, telling them all about making games from nature. He said they could find lots of elderberry bushes down in the riverbed to make clapper sticks. Spencer brought some home yesterday and was able to make a clapper stick, just like the guy said. I enjoyed the quite house while they were gone.
One new development with Brennan's allergies: we were talking to a lady whose daughter has food allergies similar to his, including eggs. She said she's been able to give her eggs as long as they're cooked, which alters the egg protein. We were hesitant to try it, but the other day he got into some salt water taffy, which contains egg whites, and low and behold, he didn't develop a rash. So we are going to try to introduce eggs into his diet and see what happens. That's not one of his major allergies, but it does help baked goods not be so dry and crumbly. Sometimes I look at Brennan's skin and am so grateful at how much better he's doing this year. It's a lot of work to keep him fed, but it's just so worth it. But sometimes it still makes me want to cry, like tonight when we ate the most delicious strawberry cake from scratch, and he was no longer content with his chocolate soy ice cream. So we kept throwing sugar at him until he got happy. Gummy bears did the trick.