Sunday, September 29, 2013

Olive Festival

I took the kids to our town's Olive Festival last month. Olive trees grow really well here because of our Mediterranean climate. Dave had a seminary meeting in the morning, so we just went for a couple hours before it got too hot. 
We spent most of our time eating kettle corn and sword fighting.
They had a free knight tournament for kids 6 and up, and they fought in teams of two. First Spencer and Tyler went.

The weapons and shields were totally realistic, and they were all made of super tough foam. I really want to buy it for the kids (they're always sword fighting with sticks, and someone's always getting hurt), but we looked it up when we got home, and it's SO expensive. All their stick wars paid off, though - they beat the other team twice.
 There was also a booth handing out free olive branch crowns.
So cute!
After Spencer and Tyler finished, Dallin and Brennan got a chance to compete in the tournament. They had SO much fun. It was definitely their favorite part of the festival.

 They lost one and won one.
After the fighting, we walked around the booths a little bit. Mostly it was olive oil tasting. I had no idea there were so many different olive oil companies here! I like olive oil okay, but mostly I saw flavored olive oils, and they tasted way too strong for me. Of course Brennan loved it - he loves strong flavors. As you can see, he chose to wear multiple shades of green to look like an olive.

On our way out we stopped to get our free olive oil ice cream. There was olive oil in the ice cream, plus we got to choose a flavor of olive oil to be drizzled on top. The boys liked it, but I thought it tasted too strong. So anyway, it was an interesting experience. I've always seen the signs and wondered what the Olive Festival was all about. The verdict was that it was worth going for the sword fighting alone.

Thursday, September 26, 2013


Do you realize it's been over a year since my last hockey blog? That's because the place where we used to play closed down. A bunch of people started playing with the YMCA down in San Luis Obispo, but we decided that was just too far to go. Then this past summer we signed Spencer up down there. We didn't have a whole lot going on, and he loved being back in hockey.

It's a really nice outdoor rink. He played with the high school league, so they were much better players than he was used to. For example, instead of making three goals a game, he got three goals the whole season. It was really good for him.

Things were much more laid back during the summer. There were two games a week and no practices. They had a little warm-up before each game, but that's it. Now he and Tyler are both playing for the fall season, and there's one night a week for practice and one for games. Luckily they have their practices and games on the same nights.  

The rink is right next to Santa Rosa Park, so the little kids play there when we all go down. At first it brought back sad memories of my daily walks around the park when Chloe was in the hospital. I remember seeing the hockey games and missing my boys.

We were leaning towards not playing this fall. Our schedules are way busier, and it seemed like it would just be too much. But when I prayed about it, I got a strong impression that they should play. So we took a leap of faith and signed them up. Tuesday was their first back-to-back practice, and it went great. Dave took them down after a quick dinner and prepared his seminary lesson in the car. The boys worked on homework uninterrupted while the other played hockey. I had a quiet evening at home with the younger kids. Maybe it won't be too busy for us after all.
They kept the teams big, since people were often gone on vacation. But there were nights when everyone showed up, and they didn't get much playing time. Now there are three teams in his league (four in Tyler's), so the teams are smaller. They'll be able to play a lot more this season.

Spencer is so good at face-offs. He wins almost every time.
He's also good at stealing pucks.

It gets super chilly down there by the end, which is great for the players but not for the spectators. We always have to bundle up! That's the downside to being outside. The upside is better lighting for pictures. Plus I like how we can walk all the way around the rink instead of just watching from one side.

His good friend Ryan was on his team. We told ourselves we'd carpool with them, but we never did. We just really enjoy watching him play.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Tide Pool Hike

A couple days after we got back from our camping trip, Tyler had a 5 mile hike with the 11 year old scouts. The whole family was invited. The scouts had to write down ten plants and ten animals they saw on the hike.

It seemed funny to me that he needed to pass off a 5 mile hike for scouts when he had just hiked all those miles in the redwoods, but we enjoyed the change of scenery. Plus it was fun to hang out with his scout leader and the other family that went.
This was an extension of the Hearst hike we'd done a bunch of times. We didn't know the trail continued on so far. We were in the woods for awhile, and then we came to this beautiful view of the coast.
 You know how the end of the Hearst hike juts out really far? Well this is the other side of it.

Only one other 11 year old (Brock) was able to go. Tyler's scout leader, Brian Kerr (behind Spencer), was just released a couple weeks ago. Now he's the Scout Master, which Spencer's totally excited about. They are planning a really fun trip for next summer.

 Don't you love Levi's duct-taped shoes? They kept falling off on our camping trip.

We hiked down the cliff to the tide pools. We got there pretty close to low tide, so they found a bunch of sea life.

Don't worry, he put it back in the water quick.

Levi was very nervous about the water, so he stayed in the carrier. We were smart and took two this time - Chloe on my back and Levi on Dave's. Somehow Levi got in backwards for a bit. He hiked again once we were far away from the water.

For some reason I told everyone to take their shoes off. Oh yeah, it was because we had to run past a cave between waves to get out to the tide pools, and I didn't want everyone's shoes to get wet. The problem was that it took us forever to get their socks and shoes back on their wet feet. Oh well.

 Spencer, totally in his element.
Tyler will be twelve by next summer, so he'll be able to go on the big scout trip too. They either want to hike up Mount Whitney (the tallest point in the continental U.S.) or do a 50 miler. The more hikes we do between now and then the better!

Sometimes I just can't decide between two cute pictures, so I have to show them both.

I love the lighting outside the cave!

On the way back we stopped at our favorite climbing trees while Spencer looked for a place to hide his geocache. He ended up not leaving it there, though. Instead he placed it close to our house so he can check on it from time to time.

My boys always want me to take their picture while they're climbing trees. The problem is that they are high up and it's kind of hard to see them very well. Plus their faces look funny when they're looking down, and you can't even see how high up they are. I try to convince them to take the pictures from the lower, less exciting branches. It just works better for pictures.

 Apparently we aren't the only ones who like these trees. They had lots of art on them.

 Cute pose! And it even looks like he is really high up in the tree.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

18 months

Time for a Chloe update. She is 18 months, leaving babyhood and entering the toddler world! She just had her 18 month checkup, and she is 18 pounds. She may be small, but she has a BIG personality. She is so much fun!
She loved going to the waterpark all summer. She had no fear of the water and especially enjoyed the pelican waterslide. She did it over and over and over....
She still loves baths, as long as no one gets too close to her. She does not like to have anyone infringe on her space. Same thing goes for the car. Don't touch her car seat or she might scream. She is a screamer!!

She has gotten a bunch of new teeth over the past couple of months. It's woken her up in the middle of the night a few times.

Her bangs are down to her chin, but she does pretty well letting me put them up. Whenever I say, "Should we do your hair?" she touches her hair and smiles. Then she plays in the sink while I comb it. 

She loves to play, "Where's your...?" and points to all her body parts. She understands almost everything we say. Yesterday I said, "Chloe, you have a sore on your thumb." Brennan asked about it, and she showed him her thumb. She totally knows what's going on. I say, "Time for prayers," and she runs to the coffee table and folds her arms.
She's always entertaining at meals.

Playing in puddles from the sprinklers. It's just so fun.

 Looking snazzy in her olive festival crown.

 She loves, loves, loves the beach. Mostly she likes to eat the sand.

She even leaned over and licked the sand last time. Yikes! How does this not drive her crazy? She had sandy diapers for 2 days.

That's one gritty marshmallow.

She loves to play with her brothers! They put her on their shoulders or take her around in the wheel barrow or wagon. I was worried she would be super sad when they all went back to school, but she is content to play with just Levi or by herself too. She's good at self-entertaining. 
This face looks so much like Brennan! 
She is talking more and more. Here are some of her favorites:
-some? again! (those are her 2 most common)
 -up, hot, shoes, uh-oh, welcome (when we give her food), me, mommy, daddy, amen, ball
The other day we all sat around her telling her things to say, and she'd try to say everything.
She didn't get them all perfectly, but she was close!

She loves animals. Dogs are still her favorite, but she really enjoyed the goats at Avila Barn too.

This could explain how all the marshmallows disappeared from the Lucky Charms last week. I'm not sure how she got up there. I'm guessing it was a brother.

She LOVES books. She brings them to me to read all the time. Often I find her looking through books on her own. She points to things and talks and laughs. She also loves to snuggle with her blankets.

She likes to join me in my exercises. It's so cute to watch her try to do what I'm doing.
(Somehow I don't have any recent pictures of her all dressed for church. I'll have to take one and post it here.)

She likes to go around and show everyone in the family how cute she is when I get her dressed for church. She especially likes to show off new shoes. She started going to nursery a few weeks ago. She doesn't like being confined for lesson or singing time, though. Remember, she needs her personal space. Her favorite things are snack time and reading books.