Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Vacation With Effy

Carmel Mission photo converted to a watercolor.

My time available for blogging has dwindled to a minimum. I no longer have access to a computer during the day and with my girls just starting school, our evenings are quite busy too. Last week, we traveled to our favorite place, the Monterey peninsula. We stayed at a hotel right on the beach and it was cold and windy. I totally loved it. Where we live, summers in August can be stifling, so a brief respite from the valley oven is greatly welcomed, even if it means wearing jackets and coats.

The first day we headed for Gilroy Gardens . Now this place is a bit “young” for Effy, but she really had a fun time anyway. She got her face painted and she smiled as we rode nearly all the rides. I just love how there’s rarely a line for anything at this place. It’s like having your own private amusement park. I even got to ride on one attraction that was too “big” for my little ones because Effy agreed to go with me. The banana boat was a blast! We rode the roller coaster two times without even having to get out of our seat. The father and son sitting behind us were eagerly enjoying their fifth go of it.

After that, we headed for Monterey and spent time on the beaches, at the Carmel Mission, in Dennis the Menace Park , and at the Monterey Aquarium. I have been going to the aquarium since it opened (back when I lived in the area) and it just seems to get better every time. There really are a lot of things for the little kids to do, even toddlers. It’s usually too crowded for my taste, but if you come with patience, there is plenty to see and do.

We spent the last day on the beach in Pacific Grove , playing in the rocks and tide pools, searching for hermit crabs. The girls collected dozens, played with them and then released them back into the ocean before we went home. It was a great four days and now I think they are ready to go back to school.

Gate at Carmel Mission

Bell at the Mission

Monday, August 09, 2010

She's Here!

Friday we went to the local airport to pick up our new exchange student from China. Her name is Liu Shuer, but she is going by "Effy". She is 16 and is from Dong Guan in Guandong China. She is cute, smart, friendly and I can see that she will be a joy to have in our family this coming year. She is a tad picky about food, but certainly not as bad as Chloe. We will just learn to expand our dining horizons.

She is not the only new member in our family. We also have a new kitten, named Sarafina. I rescued Sarafina from the local animal shelter two weeks ago. She wasn't the prettiest cat in the joint, but she was definitely the sweetest and smartest. Unfortunately, Effy is terrified of Sarafina, so we are going to have to go through an adjustment period.

I guess that's what life is all about, making adjustments.

Sunday, August 01, 2010

Goodbye Chris (For Now)

Chris came down from Seattle to spend the weekend with us and to visit old friends. She had to return to Washington today because she has college classes Monday morning. Even though it was a short visit, we had a fun time.

There is rumor of a Sweet Pea (sort of an FCC group) reunion in October in Washington, so we are hoping to stop in and see her then. For now, goodbye Chris. See you soon.

Just Because

I took this photo last week at the park while I was playing with my brother-in-law's Canon 5D. It was my favorite of the day.

We were at the park on a very hot summer day. The girls were playing in the creek. Pearl actually fell in. I have a picture of that too, but it wasn't a happy shot, so we'll just save that as future blackmail material ;-)

I looked at Chloe and called her name. Then she spun her head around quickly and I snapped this shot. Her braids were almost horizontal. I thought it was cute, but then, I'm her mother, and I think just about everything she does is cute.