Friday, August 30, 2013

Oakland, CA

We went on a fun vacation at the beginning of August. First we went to Oakland for a couple of days. Dave got off work early, and we drove up Friday afternoon. I found an awesome hotel outside of the city called Homewood Suites, and it had a kitchenette, living room and 2 bedrooms. It was actually big enough for our family, which is really hard to find.  On Saturday we drove into Oakland and had a great day.
The main reason we went to Oakland was to go to the temple. While Dave was at the temple, I took the kids to the Jelly Belly factory 40 minutes away. This was a major accomplishment for me, since I despise city driving. To quote my mom, I knew there would be merging. But it all worked out.

We went on a free tour of the factory, complete with free samples and a bag of Jelly Bellies for each person at the end. Although the factory doesn't run on Saturdays, it was still really cool to see the machines and gigantic stacks of brightly-colored jelly beans all around. We learned all kinds of fun facts, like the Jelly Belly Company began in 1976 - the year I was born! And some flavors take as long as 21 days to make.

They had huge mosaics all over, made completely with Jelly Bellies. And there were more pictures of Ronald Reagan than anyone - he is kind of their main celebrity. He passed around jelly beans before every meeting as governor, and the first blue Jelly Belly was created in honor of his presidential inauguration so they could give him a big jar of red, white and blue beans. Did you know he started eating jelly beans to break his tobacco habit?

We weren't allowed to take any pictures inside the factory. I guess they don't want people stealing any secrets, like on Charlie and the Chocolate factory. Afterwards we bought 10 pounds of Belly Flops (the mess-ups). Sometimes I go a little overboard when Dave's not there to reign me in. What can I say - it was buy 3 bags, get 2 free!

Afterwards we picked up Dave and went to Fenton's for lunch. We wanted to take our boys there ever since we went with Ben and Barbara a couple of years ago. It's the same ice cream place the old man and boy went to at the end of the movie Up.
We loved all the fun hats!

The food is very good, and the handmade ice cream is delicious. You can even watch them make it.

They put us in the big room at the back, which felt more relaxed and less crowded.

After a very yummy lunch, we got two big sundaes. Everyone chose an ice cream flavor and a sauce flavor. The nuts are chopped almonds, so Brennan could eat them.

We actually couldn't finish the second one. Perhaps we got one scoop too many.

Chloe entertained the whole room. She was very focused and ate her ice cream by the handful. Strangers even asked to take pictures of her.
After we rolled ourselves out of there, we headed back to the temple so I could go.
The kids had never been to the Oakland temple, and they enjoyed walking around the beautiful temple grounds with Dave.

They also have a great visitor's center. It's very similar to the one at the Los Angeles temple.
This was the first time I'd been there when it wasn't raining. It's up on a hill with a fabulous view overlooking Oakland, San Francisco and multiple bridges.
It felt so good to relax in the pool and hot tub back at the hotel. The next morning we went to church and drove up to the redwoods. 

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Jonathan's Eagle Project

My nephew Jonathan just earned his Eagle award in Boy Scouts, which is a really big deal. We were able to help out with his Eagle project a few weeks ago. We did demolition of 2 buildings on the Morro Bay High School campus. The first was an old chicken coop.
He mostly had adults do this one, which involved a lot of wire-cutting. When they were done, they came over to help the rest of us.

The second was this big scrap metal building. It used to have fish in it, or something. It was a huge project, and it took us most of the day to tear it down.

The kids all ran around with crow bars and hammers, banging on the metal, until Jonathan came and organized the masses. He mostly put them in charge of collecting trash and putting things in piles. 
There were a couple of minor injuries, but nothing too serious. We were pretty good about wearing gloves.


Jonathan had a good amount of helpers show up. Here's our scout master and our bishop. Our bishop is the principle at Morro Bay High School, and he helped Jonathan set up the project.


The best part of the day! 

I don't have many pictures of Jonathan. He didn't hold still for long. 

Things progressed much faster after everyone from the first project joined us.

After lunch I took all the kids (Tyler on down) home, stopping at Jamba Juice for their free kids day. The little ones may not have been a huge help with the project, but they had SO much fun doing demolition. Thanks for letting them be a part of it, Jonathan!