Monday, January 30, 2012

12 Months of Dates #1: January Whale Watching


As I mentioned before, this year for Christmas I got Tyler 12 months of (mostly) prepaid dates (I say mostly because I think there are 2 that might cost a little extra when we do them). January's date was a whale watching cruise! It's funny to me that they call it a cruise. It's just a boat. Anyway... I'm pretty sure both Tyler and I expected to see a few distant sprays of water with MAYBE the tip of a flipper or something. We were SO wrong!!

(Our boat. LOVE that it was from Gloucester -- pronounced Glau-staah)

What made it just amazing was that the water that day was literally as smooth as glass. I've never seen the ocean look so calm and smooth. The photos don't even do it justice. It was just an amazing sight to see. Perfect reflection of the sky above and not a single ripple except for the boat. Truly breathtaking!






Those whales gave us quite a show! We saw at least 8-10 gray whales, white tail flukes and surfacing all over the place. We even saw one breach 3 times!! Breaching is when they come straight up out of the water and land with a giant splash. We happened to come up on a group of 3 whales toward the end of tour and were fairly close to them (closer than I think we were even allowed to be by law, not on purpose though). And sure, I've seen the Shamu show at Sea World at least a dozen times now. Yeah, Shamu is a big impressive fish. But wow! To see these gigantic whales in their natural habitat right off the side of our boat was just an awesome experience. (These photos are not zoomed in, FYI).


The other super cool thing we saw, that would have made the experience totally worth it even if we didn't see the whales, was floating right through the middle of a dolphin superpod! Seriously, we were surrounded by at least 1000 dolphins all jumping inches from the boat. They were SO quick in and out of the water that it was hard to get pictures of them. You could see them right down in the water because it was so clear and smooth. It was just dolphins as far as you could see all around us. (These were common dolphins, not bottlenose).




All in all it was a great date!! Thanks to Groupon for their super deal, or I'm guessing we would have never done this. I would totally recommend it! SD Whale Watching and crew were fabulous. You might not get as good a show as we got (the whale breaching was spectacular; the crew were totally jazzed about it, too, and said they rarely get to see it, let alone 3 times in a row) but it's totally worth it! Even for a look at San Diego from out at in the ocean was cool. We had a great time just the two of us! It was just so so cool. Seriously.


Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Our Little Sunbeam!


I can't believe that Lia is a Sunbeam now. For those that don't know (or remember from when Max turned 3), Sunbeams is the first year of Primary at our church. Primary is basically the Sunday school program for kids 12 and under (or is it 11 and under?) They start at age 3 (so whoever is 3 on January first of that year) and goes on up. Max is now in CTR5 and our little Lia is a Sunbeam!! She's on the younger end of her class but so far she's doing alright. It's so hard for those little kids to sit still for the last 2 hours of church. About halfway through the year they start to kind of understand what is supposed to be going on, not that they aren't learning anything the first half of the year. They soak up SO much!! (I was a Sunbeam teacher for over 2 years and this year just got my first CTR6 class -- 2 well-behaved 6 year old boys is SUCH a nice change!!)


Anyway, something about when your kid goes to Primary just makes them feel so much more grown up. And also, this dress is about the cutest thing I've EVER seen. I'm kicking myself for not buying it in the next size, too, because now I can't find it!! Oh well.


Sunday, January 8, 2012

Little Bunsies

Lia insisted that I do her hair just like her giant giraffe that she got for Christmas. I was a little lost until I gave her these little buns and she was totally on board. She also picked out this outfit to go with it and then instructed me to take a picture of her "new bunsies" with my phone to send to Mimi, Grammie, Danielle and daddy. So, without further ado...

(Obviously my hair skills aren't that great. It doesn't help that her hair is kind of thin and wispy right now. She keeps getting layers of new growth every so often and it makes it kind of hard to do much! It looks way cuter from the front. Poor girl!)


(What looks like a giant mess behind her in some of those photos is in fact an entire scene from "Toy Story" set up and acted out by Lia. Yes, she is obsessed. Also, no on here got a new bike. We were holding it for a neighbor. Just so there's no confusion.)

Saturday, January 7, 2012

P.S. A Max soccer post will be coming soon! I have a bunch of video that I want to put together of his games. It'll probably be one of the last past-due updates to post so hang in there! (This is mostly for my dad. Hi dad!)

Friday, January 6, 2012

Photo Shoot With THE FLASH!

Need I say more?



(This isn't an actual action shot. He posed this way to make it look like he was running. Genius.)


Tuesday, January 3, 2012

New Year, New Places


One day during our vacation we decided to check out Cabrillo National Monument and the Point Loma lighthouse. Neither of us had ever been there before. Surprisingly I hadn't even ever been to Point Loma before. So off we went. The kids were nice and extra whiny that day, too which made us cut our excursion a little short. But we ended up at a delicious sandwich and bread shop at Liberty Station where Max got to eat chocolate bread for lunch and that perked him right up.

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(don't let all that sweet handholding fool you!)


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Tyler came up with the great idea of coming back on the following Monday (the fake New Year's day everyone had off from work). It was his last day of vacation and we thought it would be fun to check out the Bayside Trail, a 2 1/2 mile round trip hiking trail that winds around the Bay (and our $5 permit was good for 7 days so we could get in the second time for free!). The trail was really really pretty and thanks to the steepness was actually a pretty good little workout (well, for me anyway). The kids loved being in the stroller and going on an "adventure" with us, too. The spent a lot of time searching for rattle snakes. I have to say I was just a tad bit disappointed we didn't even at least hear one.

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It was the perfect start to the new year! Another gorgeous day. And it ended with another trip to Wind 'N Sea to enjoy the sunset. 


Happy start of 2012! I usually set lots of personal goals for the year and fail miserably at achieving them. This year I have a few simple things I want to just get done.


1. Photograph each of my children 52 times this year. Just simple portraits of them, one each week. I'll probably post them over at my photo blog.


3. Print my personal blog into year books.

4. Become a runner (okay, so this might be one of those ones that just disappears).

5. Continually simplify.

6. Be a better mom, even if it only means one day a week of less yelling and scolding.

7. Photograph daily life more. I want to do the 10 on 10 project (even though I'm not part of the special club of awesome photogs who are officially doing it).

Seven is a good number. I love goal setting, even if most of them do inevitably fail. I like working towards things, it makes me feel useful and feeling useful is good. Right?


Monday, January 2, 2012

Vacation Woes + Triumphs

Both Tyler and I were so seriously excited about spending two whole weeks just the four of us together for his winter break. I was looking forward to having Tyler around without the stress of school hanging over his head. He was looking forward to being school and worry free. I couldn't wait to be done with my shooting for the year. Max was going to be on break from school, too. We were ALL seriously ready for some good old family time. But the fates tried really really hard to conspire against us!

The morning of the last Friday of Tyler's school week, the day he had a really really important test (shelf exam) he bent down to put on his socks and threw his back out. He was able to get to school and take the test thank goodness, but by the end of the day I had to pick him and, he couldn't drive his car home. He was pretty much laid out for the first 4 days of our vacation putting a serious damper on the things I had planned for us. (He of course made up for it later, but I still started out our vacation pretty bummed).

Once Tyler felt better we got lots of fun things in -- ice skating, Christmas light viewing, going to the Temple, Christmas shopping, exploring at the beach and tide pools. But then the fates struck again. As soon as I finished my last shoot of the year I got seriously sick. Like, the flu, sick (not the stomach flu that's been going around, thank goodness). My body just completely broke down and stayed that way for the second half of our vacation. A nice gnarly cough set in. Bleh! Christmas was fairly miserable (although I did manage some sweet times in there) and only just now am I starting to feel like myself again! Maybe this will teach me to actually get my flu shot next year. Eh, probably not.

On the last day of our vacation we went on a gorgeous hike in Point Loma at the Cabrillo National Monument. The weather was perfect. The trail was great for pushing the kids in the BOB and the day just ended so wonderfully that it made the stress and craziness of the rest of our vacation just seem like happy family time together. I'm so grateful that we had the time together, even though for most of it the kids were at each other's throats and Tyler and I were sick or sore or tired. I still feel like we focused on our family and our time together. And I'm thankful it will help carry us through the next few months of seeing less and less of Tyler. Oh blast you third year!!