Sunday, August 31, 2014

Ranunculus Fields Forever

Dustin earned some powerful son-in-law points for suggesting that we all go an visit the ranunculus fields in Carlsbad when my mom was visiting for her third trip to San Diego. What better way to spend a Sunday than to visit these magnificent fields that go on for days? I'm not much of a gardener but I can appreciate the beauty in these. 
It was great to be on the tractor ride with my mom and ask, "What's your favorite flower, mom?" and hear, "The ranunculus!!!" That's fitting.
Look at the precision and order for each color. I was in color coding heaven.
There is a maze on site and a children flag/mapping hunt amongst other fun things but we were mostly busy just looking and looking at all of the colors. I don't have a great photo of my mom (or one that she would approve of) to share here but she was there. She was happy and adorable in her white, canvas sunhat.


This butterfly habitat is one of the gifts that Alden got from Grandma Cyndy at Christmas time. We waited until the weather was little more fair to send away for the mail order caterpillars. Once the arrived we followed the steps of letting them roam about for a few days, watched them form into a chrysalis, harden, be motionless, then start to emerge. It was fascinating and a little gross. Those caterpillars were timely, too. On the day the booklet suggested they may or may not do something, they would do it and not a moment too soon.  I was impressed. For the photo above, you can tell that Alden was also.

Julian, California - Third Trips a Charm

Last summer, just a few months after being in San Diego, we were hankerin' for some old time, western vibe, green pine trees and hills kinda day. We checked out the surrounding areas of southern California and took a chance on Julian. It's about a 75 minute drive east where it gets very hot, very hilly, and a little more country. We loved it and vowed to return. In late November when my sister, Bekki, was visiting we took another trip out for a Christmas tree lighting and small town festival. It was down right quaint. With the orange glow of the sun setting on us all, we watched the little town celebrate with huge heart. We loved it and vowed to return. Now, in February of 2014, we returned for a rare 2 day weekend for Dustin. That means that he didn't have to work all week in the traditional time frame and then shoot 2 weddings on Saturday and Sunday. We got out of town before anyone changed their mind. 
We booked a little cottage bed and breakfast and drove IN THE SNOW to Julien. We we so excited and felt almost Oregonian again.
A claw foot tub with a red head playing with a rubber ducky? Priceless.
On the way out of town on Sunday, we stopped at Lake Cuyamaca where we rented a boat and proceeded to fish on what seemed to be the coldest day of the new year. We all played along for a long while until Alden's fingers threatened to fall off like shattered glass.
But we loved it and vow to visit again.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Costumes Continued

Sometimes words just get in the way. I'm going to let you figures all of this costume display out for yourselves.

Christmas in SUN Diego

The holidays seem like a dream when it's still sunny and warm out. It feels ridiculous trying to get into the spirit when you have palm trees and beaches as your back drop. But. We got over it pretty fast as the following photos will soon show. 
Yes, that's a banana runt for a smile on the ginger bread cookie. Alden thinks of everything. 
Alden warmed up to the idea of Santa this year but just the idea of Santa and his bringing the sacred bow and arrow set he wanted. Not the real Santa that comes INTO your home and delivers the gifts though. Just like last year, we respectfully asked Santa to deliver the goods outside.
Grandma Robbie was here to visit, too, so it was extra special to share these traditions with her. We surfed and walked and played at parks and the zoo. 

Alden immediately got into his camo gear so he could shoot his bow and arrow. Never mind that it was only 7:30 a.m. 
Ice skating on the beach on Christmas. Because that's normal.
Legos are his best toy. Legos are the only toy most days. That's all he needs.
This sketch was part of our annual New Year's card. It might become a tradition along with the ice skating thing. That was surreal. 

Viva Las Vegas and Long Live the Gambling

After 12 years, you'd think I would learn to keep my passing thoughts and ideas to myself. I mentioned to Dustin that, since we hadn't gotten to celebrate our anniversary together on September 1st (or at all), that we should try to get away for a weekend when my mom came down to visit in November. I thought maybe a short visit to Santa Barbara or a night out in down town San Diego. He took the idea a few hundred dollars further and booked us two nights at the Luxor in LAS FREAKIN' VEGAS. And plane tickets. And show tickets. And excellent meals. And gambling. 
Neither of us had ever been to Las Vegas. I was unsure I would get the point since I am a frugal/tightwad/penny pincher. The idea of gambling scared me because Dustin has a flare for all things carnival and blinking and shiny. He ALWAYS wins at those claw games in pizza parlors with the incredibly poor quality stuff animals. I worried that I would hold him back and that I may lose him to Sin City. 
After losing $40 in less than sixty seconds on our first machine, we got in a mini-tiff and sat down to eat and come up with a game plan. We agreed on a number that we were comfortable "playing" with  and potentially losing and then proceeded with caution.
As it turns out, I, too, have a gift for all things carnival, blinking, and shiny. I found some HOT machines that not only treated me kindly but treated me like royalty. Dustin and I drew a bit of a crowd for a while there. We won some. We lost some. We won some more. Dustin almost lost ME to Sin City. We stayed up until about 6 a.m. gambling, dancing, and sight seeing.
On the second day, we did more of the above and cabbed to the old strip. That is where we discovered that Dustin's carney skills extend further to the roulette table and that I could play bingo unsupervised and in an old school hall. 
We split up for a little bit to divide and conquer. I won $40 which made up for the initial loss on the floor. Dustin won a lot more and was Googling every tip on roulette on the cab right back to the hotel.
We met Bumble and promptly sent the photo to Alden in San Diego. His mind was blown.
The only photo allowed in the Cirque du Soleil show O. It was awe inspiring. I was simultaneously creeped out a little and floored a lot more. SO COOL. 
That night, Dustin opted to stay up all night at the roulette table while I got a little shut eye before we had to check out. I made sure he was getting potty breaks and eating but he was dedicated to making it big. It worked. Vegas totally worked. I loved it. We miss it.

The Visitors of November

Sure, I can post November happenings nearly 10 months later. Who's going to stop me? There are several reasons that folks stop blogging and for me it's that I became so incredibly busy and so overwhelmed to try to post meaningful and funny entries here that I put it off... until now. 

So here we go! Our first November guest was my youngest cousin, Emma. She is now a young lady college grad who is out traveling, working,  and searching for the next adventure in store for her. She came to see us for a long weekend and I loved it. We walked. We talked (and talked and talked) and beached and played! 
Then Spencer and Erika joined in and then my mom (who cared for Alden while we skipped to Las Vegas)  and then my oldest sister, Bekki (who joined us for a sea food restaurant Thanksgiving) and then Leah and Trevor. All good friends and family, all for us to visit with and explore America's Finest City, our little San Diego. 
Alden was a little let down by the end of the month when we declared that we weren't expecting any other guests for a while. He likes his adult playmates. We all do.