Saturday, May 31, 2014

Poly Canyon Hike

After Spencer's hockey game a couple weeks ago, we picked up Costco pizza for dinner and hiked Poly Canyon. 

We went there last year with Kristen and her boys, but Dave had never been there before.

Warning: all of these pictures were taken with my phone. And while the quality is WAY better than my old phone, it's still a phone. I took down my real camera, but there was no memory card in it. Oops.

Some people forgot to pack sweatshirts (it's always so much cooler down in SLO, so we don't think of it). Lucky for them, Spencer had some extra hockey jerseys in his bag.

The cool thing about this little hike is that it has lots of fun random structures made by old Cal Poly students.

 Does Tyler blend in with these characters or what?!

 How can they have a "No Climbing" sign? Doesn't it just scream, "Climb me!"? 

 We were there right before sunset, and the lighting was lovely.

 Look what we found on one of the structures! It stands for "Choose The Right."

 We didn't have time to see everything, but we saw plenty, and it was fun.

 We took the narrow path back. No one fell into the creek, so that was good.

 Leave it to Spencer to find the giant beetle.

A selfie - my boys will be proud.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Mother's Day and Birthdays

I had a lovely Mother's Day. Our wonderful bishop served all the women a delicious brunch during the last hour of church. Then we got together for dinner at my parents' house. We had Hawaiian haystacks, and it felt perfect outside. Funny thing about this picture: Spencer was the photographer, and it took us about 4 tries to get one with everyone's eyes open. Thank goodness for digital cameras.

Then we celebrated Spencer's 14th birthday! I'll never forget when the hospital food service gave me my first Mother's Day card with my breakfast, the day after he was born. It always seems fitting to share this day with him.

On Spencer's actual birthday (2 days later), we ate grilled shrimp and BBQ ribs, followed by Oreo cupcakes. Then he opened his gift: a new phone! I got a new one also (they were having a big Mother's day sale).

The next day, my sister Kristen had her baby! This was a bit of a surprise, since she was 2 weeks early. Her name is Kate, and she's adorable.

 I took Luke, Levi and Chloe down to see her the next day. Nathan took the rest of them down after school.
Notice there are no pictures of Chloe. I thought she'd be so excited, since she LOVES babies. But she wasn't so sure about her, and she cried when I held Kate.

 There's nothing like this in the world! I could have stayed all afternoon, but the natives were getting restless.

I had so much fun holding this baby and taking pictures! It's my favorite hospital activity.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Hiking Big Sur

After we left the mission in Carmel, we drove down the coast on Highway 1. It is such a beautiful drive! And lucky for us, none of our kids get car sick because it it very windy. I do sometimes, so I drove. We went to the southern end of Big Sur to a place called Limekiln State Park. Dave looked it up ahead of time, and this sounded like a lovely hike. We had already done several of the main hikes in Big Sur, and we wanted to see something different. At first we were a little doubtful because it looked like we had gone too far and left all the redwoods behind. But once we got to the turnoff and drove 100 ft inland, we were surrounded by new growth coastal redwoods.

There were 3 one-mile hikes. First we followed the creek up to a waterfall.
Yay! A banana slug!

There were 5 creek crossings.

Apparently there was extensive damage to the park from fires in 2008. It reopened in 2010.

I was prepared! 

We were happy to see that there was actually some water in the waterfall.

Spencer found several geocaches along the hike, so he was happy.

After we explored around the waterfall for a bit, we headed over to the next hike. That's when it started to rain. The boys LOVED hiking in the rain! Chloe was okay with it, and I was happy to have my umbrella.

The next hike took us to the actual lime kilns.                 Looking rather sneaky there, Tyler!

Seems like a funny place to harvest limestone, but apparently they built these in the late 1800's because there was plenty of redwood to burn (for extracting the lime) and easy access to the coast (to load the lime onto ships). The lime was a key ingredient in cement to build San Francisco and Monterey.

The rain was coming down pretty hard by the time we got back, but there was one more hike and one more geocache. I stayed in the car with Brennan, Levi and Chloe while Dave took the oldest three on the hike. Apparently they ran the whole way and loved it! They were back before I was done making sandwiches for lunch. See what I mean about this hike being completely different from Pinnacles?! We loved them both.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Carmel Mission

On the 2nd day of our little spring break trip, we checked out of our hotel and drove a few miles down to Carmel. Dallin is studying the California missions this year in school, and he had to choose one for his big mission project. He looked at a bunch online and decided that the one in Carmel was his favorite because it looked really old and unique. So we worked a visit into our travel plans. This was the day it rained, and we were very grateful it stopped raining for a little bit while we walked around to take pictures.  

 This is the 2nd oldest mission, and it was founded in 1770.

 This was my favorite little corner of the mission. I love the old walls, stairs, flowers and cool doors. 

 There were lots of colorful flowers everywhere.

Here's the front of the chapel. The architecture of this mission is more ornate than the others.

 Inside the chapel.

I'm guessing this is Father Serra, the founder of the mission. I forgot to look at the plaque because it was starting to rain again.

 The cemetery was pretty - they put abalone shells on all the grave markers. 

 Moving into the buildings - here is the music room. Of course Tyler was drawn to the old violins.


 Dining area

 The room where they received guests

 Padre's bedroom

The walls were covered with beautiful artwork.

"California's first library."

 Another pretty little corner.

When I was deciding which college to attend, I visited two schools: St. Francis College, in Pennsylvania, and Alderson-Broauddus, in West Virginia. They both had excellent physician assistant programs, and they were both small, private, rural, religious schools. There was a huge difference between them, however. AB was very stark, plain, and utilitarian-feeling. St. Francis, on the other hand, had a beautiful campus with flowers, fountains and more interesting/attractive architecture. There was such a good, peaceful spirit there. I love beautiful places, and walking around the Carmel Mission reminded me of that first visit to St. Francis. Thank you, Dallin, for choosing this mission.