Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Checking In...

Just a quickish post of random bits-
We've had a few rounds of ick come through the house. Kids have missed way too much school. 2 kids currently have pneumonia and are on multiple antibiotics. Myles ended up at Urgent Care over the weekend with trouble breathing and chest pains due to his left lung giving him problems.
Our house has undergone a shifting around of rooms/beds. We have a few trips planned coming up and wanted our house sitter to have a proper guest room, so things shifted from room to room, a room got painted, and Brian and I will soon have a king size bed. We also have multiple visitors coming this summer and wanted all guests to have a cozy room (the kids pretty much live in a tent in the back yard all summer, so we don't mind ousting them from their rooms for company to stay).
Much to my dismay(ahem, this was all Brian), our house has it's first gaming system. We made it to having kids age 13, 11, and 9 and no video games....but now they have an XBox One....which they are enjoying very much, especially with being sick and not really up and moving a lot when they are home.
As an early 8th grade grad gift, and in prep for her journey to high school (which provided us a list of computers with instructions that each student is to have one and bring it daily), Emma now has her own tablet/laptop, and digital camera. I totally expect her to get a blog up and running at some point.
Spring Break begins next week. We will spend the entire spring break, 9 days, traveling up/down the Norther Ca and Oregon coasts.  I can't even tell you how excited I am for this trip. The kids have never been to the Trees of Mystery, or Ferndale, or Sea Lion Caves, or the Florence sand dunes (none of us have done the dunes, but we are taking a tour), or toured the Tillamook Cheese Factory, or seen/done any of the fun coast things I did growing up. Brian was able, at the last minute, to get us a condo at the same place I stayed at as a kid. Happens to be the place we stayed when I saw Jaws for the first time. We are all looking so forward to staying at a beach side place and having enough time to build in down days, with nothing but relaxing on the schedule.  We also are expecting to have great weather, which is a bonus.
With all the sickness and stuff that's been going on, we are all looking forward to unplugging, loading up, and hitting the road!

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Peak to Peak to Peak w/the Family - Part 2

 As the name of this hike would imply, there's first a lot of downhill, then a long uphill, then back down that uphill, and up the first long downhill.....so what I'm saying is, you are either going down or up on this one.
 You can see the summit above Brian's head.

 Below, we are now heading up North Peak, looking back at the summit. If you follow the ridge line down the left from the summit, you'll see Devil's Elbow rock sticking out.

 We live straight out from that quarry down there...you can see our house, and all 3 of our schools in that shot.

 Ok, so Sophie was in street flats w/no tread, and Emma's ankle (she sprained it a few months back and was on crutches for 3 weeks) was hurting. You can see how close we are to the towers in the below pic, they are just at the top of that rock...but as soon as the trail bends behind those rocks, it's nearly straight up, like hands and knees going up and butt sliding back down...which none of us really wanted to do. (Brian and I have both done it before, but the kids looked at it and all said "No Way!", and we have some pretty adventurous kids). So we turned around up by that second power pole.
 If you are curious...the trail that goes back up to the Summit kind of angles  across the peak you're looking at, from bottom right, to upper left. Devil's Elbow is that rock sticking up a few hundred feet down from the summit, on the left of the peak.  The trail goes to it, then around the front of the mountain, and up to the summit. You can't access the summit from the side you are looking at, all trails accessing it are on the other side of the mountain (which we call the front side, so you're looking at the back side).

 Brian wanted to check out this little trail.

 They talk nonstop on hikes, it's a great time to learn more about what they think about/what's going on in their lives. Myles especially has no off button and will talk your ear off. Brian is probably learning why the mountain isn't a good habitat for sloths....which he talks non stop about.

 Those two crack me up. Myles has suddenly gotten really into throwing the football w/Papa....Papa isn't into sports at all, and doesn't love throwing a football (mama does love it), but he loves that his boy wants to play catch all of a sudden, so he does his best. 
 They are each so cool, in their own individual way!  I love these kids!
 Random back-lit bush.  It was prettier in real life.

We've looped back around to the front side of the mountain, which faces San Fran.  It's usually too foggy to see the San Fran Bay, but not on this day.
Sophie leading us down the home stretch.  This is a tough hike if you haven't been hiking and are out of shape (me).  It's not long, only about 4 miles, but it's got a lot of climbing/downhill. It is totally worth it, though. On a clear day, you can't beat the views!  You can't get lost, it's just Summit Trail to North Peak Trail, go till it (or you) stops, and turn around and go back.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Peak to Peak to Peak w/the Family - Part 1

The above picture is not mine, but it provides a great view of Diablo. The town you see is Concord, and while we do have a Concord address....we actually live on the backside of the mountain, off to the left of this picture.  
For the sake of this post, I wanted you to see what "peak to peak to peak" looks like.  We started at the summit, which is the tallest peak. We drop down to it's left into the valley, and then climb North Peak, the peak on the left. After reaching the top....it's back down into the valley, and the climb back up to the summit.
On a perfectly clear, 80 degree day in February....it's amazing!!

 This is one of the areas that completely burned. There's a lot of green now!

 Looking over at North Peak. This entire side of the North Peak burned in 2013.  We stood at the bottom of the other side and watched the flames top out and overtake the towers on top.  It's amazing to see how much it has recovered. You can see bits of the delta water on either side of the peak. It was a beautiful day to be out.  You can see pics of this area the day the mt opened after the fire in this post. It is really amazing how much has grown back! (You can see my 2013 fire post here from the day the fire started) 

Friday, March 4, 2016

Spring Has Sprung!

We are finally having a gray, rainy day so I thought I'd post some pictures I took last week. We've had a few weeks of temps in the mid 70's. This isn't really a "good" thing as we still need a lot of rain, but it does make yard work and planting so tempting. I know it's too early, but man when the sun turns on and the temps spike, we live in the back yard. I instantly want to get the garden planted and fill my flower beds. Instead, we spent a Saturday doing yard work (it was really fun), getting everything cleaned up, cut back, raked, weeded... and at the end of the day I sent Myles and Brian to OSH for 3 plants. I have 3 small pots that live on our patio table, and just wanted one small plant for each one. I'm not picky so there's no way they could mess up, just get me 3 small plants so my table has some color.  Well they came home with 3 variety packs (18 plants).  Score!  Anyways, these pictures were taken last Monday morning at 8:30 a.m.  Things already look different this week. The tree is totally full of those green poofy pollen things, and my wall of Bougainvillea is starting to bloom. I love this time of year!
 The kids have taken to playing tennis on the patio, so for now my table and chairs are off to the side, in the dirt.

 It's been years since we've had a really, really green back yard!! It's such a treat!

 This Bougainvillea covers a fence on the side of our house. Every winter it looks totally dead, looses all it's leaves.  But, if you look close....life!!

 My snapdragons wintered over this year. The seem to have liked the rain, and have bloomed continually all winter.
 Above, the hill behind the house is covered in mustard flowers.
 Myles is digging under the pepper tree.
 Ok, these are not technically in the back yard....but close to the back yard : ) We got in a killer hike. Peak to peak to peak - from Diablo summit to North Peak, and back to Diablo summit. It was a beautiful day, I will do a separate post because there are a ton of pictures.

 We've already roasted dinner a couple of nights. This time of year when everything is still damp, but the weather is beautiful...it's about the only time I feel safe anymore lighting a fire and having sparks blowing around.  It's just gotten to be too dry in the summers to risk a stray spark.
 Chalk art.
We've really had so much beautiful weather!! I'm happy to have a few rainy days now, kick everything back into growing and green mode. The green hills have already begun to change back to gold, so we are happy to have some rain.   Sick kids home from school on a rainy day....that's a whole different story. : )