Thursday, January 17, 2013

Down the Street

I haven't been great about posts on the outings that take place just out our front door.  With baby number two, we've had smaller windows of time in which we can get out of the house between naps. Often photos are the last thing on my mind as we make the most of our precious time and soak it all in.  I feel very grateful to live in a place where I can quickly find so many sources of beauty and fun for us to appreciate just for the bit of time we have. A 15-20 minute drive often makes an outing not worth it, after the time it takes going through all the steps to get ready (feedings, diapers, dealing with tantrums etc etc).  So having awesome spots for kids just minutes away makes a huge difference to my quality of life. We can get out and enjoy ourselves, but still get back in time for Oscar's nap so that we have the benefit of a well-rested child.  It keeps me sane to get out of the house and it lifts my soul if that place happens to be beautiful and fresh. One such place is Ocean Beach, and in particular, Kelly's Cove, found literally blocks from our doorstep.

Lately on a couple of Jer's days off we've had that small window to get out, and I grabbed the camera. Jeremy is pretty content to hang out at the beach any time.

It seems there has been quite a lot of driftwood washed up these days.  Someone took the liberty to build a hut, perfectly Finn-sized.

Since we don't have a dog, we've been using Oscar to fetch sticks.

There is important work to be done with sticks, after all.

Finn has been using his collection of diggers a lot. He has three big ones that we take to the beach, and he has named all of them.  "Busy-busy" is the yellow Tonka digger that he received at Oscar's birth.  "Tim" is his beloved backhoe excavator, which he never lets too far out of his sight.  "The Green Machine" is his John Deere tractor/digger.  Finn usually keeps one eye on his digging project, and the other on Oscar.  He's actually concerned about Oscar eating sand and sticks and likes to make sure it doesn't get out of hand.

  Oscar is overjoyed at this new world of sand play. He's nonstop, whizzing about on all fours, lunging into the holes we dig and double-fisting sand into his mouth.

Digging holes has been a favorite activity lately.

And one in which all can participate. Every little fistful counts!

Oscar hasn't quite figured out all the tools at his disposal, but he's working on it.

When Finn sidles up to us and starts gazing off into the distance, we know he's pretty spent. It's kinda nice that we don't have a big journey ahead of us to get back home, what with with gritty, chafing sand-filled drawers/diapers and all.

One of our favorite things about Ocean Beach is the lovely view of it from above at Sutro Heights Park, which is just up the hill and a few blocks down from our house. You can see pretty much the whole 3.5 mile length of the Ocean Beach coastline. Finns loves this spot to run around, as well.  I could do a whole separate post on our love of this spot. So perhaps I will!

A post about Ocean Beach would be remiss without mention of its surf, one of the primary reasons we chose real estate where we did. Unfortunately since having kids, I can no longer sit with fixed gaze/ camera and watch Jeremy catch and ride the waves. I have little ones with no fear of said waves, who must be kept in check. But you can see some clean little peaks in the pics below.

I just stumbled upon some pics from a beautiful sunset walk on the beach back in 2011, when Finn was the baby getting gritty knees. I remember this evening was so magical.

Not a bad spot down the street. I will always love the little pieces of our history spent here.

Friday, January 11, 2013

More in Mendocino

Our second venture up to the Mendocino area was vastly more successful than the first.  It turns out that a baby with an ear infection can make all the difference in the world!  We just had a great time all around. This is such a beautiful area and the kids both slept and ate well and were happy. As Jeremy and I drove home we just kept saying, "That was awesome." We couldn't quite believe it had turned out so well.  The train was a hit with all of us, and the next day's adventures were utterly lovely.  After baths and breakfast, we checked out of the hotel and headed for Russian Gulch State Park. Gorgeous.
A misty but sunny morning at Russian Gulch State Park

Oscar needed a nap so into the bjorn he went for most of the duration of our exploration.

Finn loves a family hug
With Oscar in the bjorn on me, Jeremy got the task of trying to keep Finn contained as we walked the coastal cliffs.

 This is the type of place where every turn of my head introduced an awe-inspiring view. We couldn't stop taking pictures.  They are going to do a lot of the talking on this post.

 This white water reminded me of royal icing used on British Christmas cake that my Grandma Bates would make every year.

Being out here did my soul good, I tell you.  Even with a 19 lb baby strapped to my front for 2 hours, I felt like a million bucks.
 We spent a good while playing near the water under the scenic bridge--the perfect spot for rock throwing and finding sticks to poke in the sand.


Next we headed up a muddy, wet trail for a little hike.  There was such great variety of mushrooms growing everywhere. It took great effort to protect them from Finn's deliberate trod.

We walked under the bridge pictured above and admired it from this different perspective.

I'm telling you--it was so glorious being out here.

Oscar awakened from his slumber to gaze at the trees towering above him.  Love this.

And at mama.  Love this even more.
We were all beyond hungry by the time we made it back down from our hike to the car. We just went with the tried and true and returned to Egghead's restaurant where we knew there was something for everybody....and Wizard of Oz props for story telling at the table.  This time I tried the grilled cinnamon  bread and had eggs benedict again.  I think I ate 2200 calories in that one sitting. Seriously.  Jeremy had a crepe stuffed with all sorts of spicy and savory goodness.
The kids were awesome on the drive home (which always seems so much longer to me for some reason) and even tolerated a stop off to grocery shop at Trader Joe's so that we could stock the empty cupboards that awaited us at home.