Thursday, August 30, 2007

Uncle Ron

My Uncle Ron who lives in Utah was out here on a business trip last week, so we met up with him on Friday night and went out to dinner. It was great to see him! He has always been a good example to me, someone that I look up to. As I get older, and closer to his age, ;) I have enjoyed his friendship even more! He thinks he will be out here often on business, so, he promised next time he comes out that he will bring his wife! (Raquel, make sure you hold him to that!)

Chance enjoying some good quality time with his great uncle!

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Tyler's an Eagle!

Congratulations to my cousin Tyler, for earning his eagle!! He is only 15, so I am impressed that he already has it done! He and his family only live about one hour from us, so we were able to drive down last Sunday to attend his court of honor. It was great to see them, and to see Tyler get his eagle. He is such a great kid and is so motivated and excited about life. So, way to go Tyler!!

Monday, August 27, 2007

Alcatraz

Last Saturday we spent the day exploring Alcatraz. It was very interesting and we really enjoyed it! Here is the view of the island from the ferry we took to get there and back. Before Alcatraz became a prison, it was an army fort and this hallway is in one of the military buildings. Now, they use this building to start your own personal tour of the island. Through the doors on the left is a theater that shows an introductory movie to the history of Alcatraz. On the right are some other displays and a little movie explaining the Native American take over of this island, a few years after the prison had been shut down. I had no idea that had ever happened. It all very interesting.
When you enter the actual jail, you are given headphones that play a self guided tour through the building. It was so intriguing! The different voices that guided us through the tour and gave us the history were from eight different men that lived here. Four of them had been prisoners, the other four were guards. They talked about the different rules and schedules that the prisoners followed, along with many stories of events that had taken place.

We learned of several escape attempts and saw the cells of the only prisoners that actually did escape. They used silverwear and carved out holes through their vents. Once they crawled out, they climbed up onto the roof and from there, they had to swim across the bay. They were never found after that. No one knows if they made is safely to land and left the country, or drowned in the ocean.
A good deptiction of an actual real life prisoner, don't you think?

There were also many beautiful areas, which I wasn't expecting at all. I loved this old stair case, I thought it was actually quite charming.The warden of the prison was considered a prominent member of the society in San Franciso. He would often have parties on the island with the prison guards and their families, as well as the rest of high society that would come over on ferries from San Francisco. This building is where the warden of the prison lived. It was a mansion and was only a few yards away from the prison doors. After the prison was closed down, there were several buildings on the island that were burned down, including this one. Exactly how the fire started was unknown. It's too bad because I would love to see how this building used to look. However, I still liked the look of it now, especially the ivy growing in the windows.
The guards and their families had many gardens and planted many different kinds of flowers and plants. Today there are still many of the original plants, and now volunteers are taking care of them and trying to restore the gardens to the way they were.

We had a great day and received a very interesting history lesson. I would definitely recommend visiting Alcatraz to anyone. I think Chance even enjoyed it, for the short time he was awake. He took a nap for most of the time, which worked out great for us! :)

Monday, August 20, 2007

Tubby Time

On Friday night we got to babysit our neighbors, Ella and Kayla. We had a great time with them, especially Chance. He is a much happier baby when these girls are around! :) He especially enjoys watching Ella run around. So, before bed time we had tubby time with everyone. They were all so cute that I just had to take a picture!! :) Chance unfortunately didn't stay happy for long. He absolutely hates getting his hair washed and rinsed! The girls, on the other hand, did great. And afterwards we had three clean babies ready for bed, which is always nice!

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Mount Tamalpais and Sausalito

On Friday, Eric surprised me by telling me he had the day off of work and we were going to go play. So we drove close to the the top of Mount Tamalpais, (which is one of the highest peaks in the bay area) and then hiked the rest of the way up. It was a quick little hike and once we reached the top... oh my goodness, the view was unbelievable. We could see everything on every side of us for miles. It was absolutely breathtaking. In this shot you can see San Francisco way in the distance on the peninsula jutting out into the water. You can also barely see the bay bridge connecting San Fran with Treasure Island. At the top of Mount Tam there is a fire watch tower. It looked like it is in full operation since there were lights on inside. What we found to be very interesting, was the Tibetan prayer flags strung all around the barbed wire on every side. It seemed like such a contrast. As always, Chance enjoyed being in his backpack... Except for the two times when some tree branches managed to miss Eric and then swipe at Chance's face. On the way back down Eric was much more observant of those sneaky branches. :)



After checking out the view from the top, we drove back down to another trail head and hiked out a little way through some incredible fields of golden grass that overlooked the ocean and San Francisco. We found a rock to sit on and we stopped there to eat lunch. By this time Chance was about 2 hours overdue for his nap and finally fell asleep. Surprisingly he stayed asleep as Eric took the backpack off, and continued sleeping through out our entire lunch.

Fields of Gold... whenever I say that I can't help but start to hum that song by Sting. :) He woke up just as we were ready to go and was happy to be awake. He was all smiles for a little while, until he realized he was still tired. (luckily we were back in the car and to his car seat when that happened)

What we were really looking for on this hike was something called O'rourke's Bench. We thought it would be nice to sit on a bench and eat lunch overlooking the bay. Well, we didn't find it until we were on our way out. Which is when we realized we were looking for the wrong thing. We were looking for a nice little wooden bench. We didn't expect this big beautiful stone bench. It was named and built for a man named O'rourke, by his children, who wrote a nice dedication to him on the plaque. This man apparently loved Mount Tam and considered it his back yard. It's too bad we didn't find this bench before lunch, because it really did have a great view and I loved the actual bench itself. It was pretty cool looking.

I loved this tree that the bench sat under. It was a pretty place.

After driving off the mountain we stopped by a little town on our way out called Sausalito. It is right on the bay just across the golden gate bridge from San Francisco. I have never been there but wasn't expecting much. I just thought we could go see lots of boats. Well, we did do that, but there was so much more. It has a very quaint looking main street that is so cute. There were several art galleries to look in and one place in particular that we really enjoyed that displayed blown glass. It was beautiful. So glad we decided to stop by.


Chance hanging out in Sausalito just enjoying the view of the city, along with his string cheese snack.

Once they start moving, pigeons can be very interesting to watch. Just ask Chance.


Spirit fingers!!! (who of us doesn't cheer when we get fed?)


Saturday, August 18, 2007

Chance's Latest

So I just thought I would share some of Chance's latest happenings.

First of all is the string cheese. This kid goes crazy for it. I just introduced it into his diet a few weeks ago and now, whenever I lay an assortment of food on his tray, he finds the cheese and gobbles that down first. But just a couple of days ago I introduced yogurt, and now I think that might now be beating out the cheese for number 1 on the favorite foods list. This picture may look like some form of child abuse, but in actuality, it is Chance's new favorite way to sleep. He has begun snuggling with his blanket's which I think is soo cute! He especially likes them by his face and will often pull it completely over his head. I don't know how he does it, I can't stand my face being covered!

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Ward Camp Out

Last weekend we went camping with our ward up on Mount Diablo which is only about 15 minutes from home. We had a fabulous time and a miracle occured, Chance acutally slept the whole night through. That's right, he didn't wake up one single time to scream and wake up everyone else around us. This is the first time in the tent that he has slept all the way through. I know, it's crazy because you would think with all the camping we do that he would sleep better in a tent. But we are hoping that he has finally gotten used to it and that this is the new trend.... I am crossing my fingers!

Anyway, from up on Mount Diablo we had a great view of the cities down below. And in the morning Eric had a great view of the fog rolling in and around the hills. I was still happily sleeping in the tent when Eric got up and biked to to top of the mountain.
Chance was also a happy sleeper that morning and didn't get up until about 9:30. Even with all the other kids making so much noise. The Elder's Quorum provided an awesome breakfast that morning, complete with choc chip or bluberry pancakes, omlette's, o.j. and hot chocolate. It was delicious and Chance really enjoyed his first pancake. He gnawed that thing to pieces.
Here we are with our neighbor Lauren. Other than Eric and I, she is the person that Chance see's the most, and is the most comfortable with for that matter.
Chance hung out in the play pen for a little bit with Katie and had a good time, until...
all the other babies joined them. I guess by that time Chance had decided he had enough and wanted out. But I still had to get a shot with all the babies, even if Chance was mad about it! It was just too cute! :) I think Kayla and Hayden didn't quite know what to do with a screaming Chance. Katie knew what to do and was going to find a way out of there! ;)
We are still loving our big tent that we got for Christmas. This trip it seemed to be the child attraction. While we were both setting it up and taking it down we had several kids join us inside. I thought it was pretty cute.
So, while we were up on the mountain we thought we would make the most of our time there and try to squeeze in some rock climbing while Chance was napping in his car seat. We drove over to where the rocks are and started our hike down. Little did we know that we had picked the wrong side and we found ourselves on a very difficult descent, especially while trying to carry the car seat and keep Chance asleep inside of it, not to mention the poison oak that was surrounding us!! So, we finally reached the bottom, and of course, Chance woke up! So, here are Eric and Chance in front of the rock face that we were hoping to climb. Next time we go we'll just have to take a third person with us, so we can for sure get some climbing in. It has been too long and we miss it!

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Back Packing to Sword Lake

Eric got a tip about an awesome lake close to Yosemite, and decided it was about time to take Chance on his first back packing trip. So, we bought a good back pack to carry him and a little bit of cargo in, and Eric got to carry everything else. (the lucky guy) ;) Chance had a good time riding in the back pack. As long as he was in the back pack he was a happy little camper. And he thought it was fun to try to grab mom's sunglasses as well. :) Here is a beautiful view of Sword Lake. Chance really sleeps best when he feels like he is in a crib, so we put him next to the tent wall with a pack on the other side of him, and some vests underneath him for padding. We hoped that would be enough to keep him happily asleep through out the night. We thought it just might work when we laid him down at bed time and he quickly fell asleep. However, a couple hours later, and many more times after that, we awoke to a crying, and inconsolable child. So, I guess he wasn't fooled by our attempt at a "crib."

Before Eric and I went to bed, we thought we would quickly hang our food in the tree to avoid any hungry bears around camp. That "quick" plan turned into about an hour when I pulled the bag up and it became lodged in the bark on top of the branch. So, after throwing rocks at the bag for awhile, trying to dislodge the rope, Eric finally climbed up the tree and reached out with a stick to pull the bag back down.

After a good night's rest, or something like that.... we went down to swim in the lake. Unfortunately Chance wasn't feeling too well. We think he might have gotten heat exhaustion, or maybe just exhaustion from crying all night. So, our swim in the lake was just a quick one. Eric was able to jump off the rope swing a few times and then jump off the cliff twice.

Here's my tarzan flying through the air! ;)

I on the other hand sat on a rock in the water for a couple of minutes, and then I was ready to go. I am a big scaredy cat when it comes to jumping off high stuff. But if we would have had more time for me to build up some courage, I just might have jumped off the rope swing from a lower jumping point. Oh well. Like I said, we didn't have much time. We were anxious to get our little guy back to the car with A/C.
On the hike back out, Chance looks like how I think all of us felt. We were tired! But we were happy. We had a fun time, and we are glad we got to experience Sword Lake.

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