Sunday, November 27, 2011


Mark's parents were kind enough to fly out and join us for our turkey feast. Yes, I prepared a turkey! Although it was only the turkey breast (I don't do bones or dark meat), it was slow-cooked and really delicious! Everything was delicious. We were happy to have the company to share it.

The boys dressed the part in their indian attire. Owen in his pow wow shirt and headband, complete with drum and beads...courtesy of his kindergarten pow wow held at school last week. He even had a Native American name--woodpecker.

And Gavin sported this awesome jacket that Mark used to wear as a child. True vintage embroidery and fringe. It's probably more "cowboys and indians", but it worked for him quite nicely all Thanksgiving day.

We had beautiful weather throughout the weekend. We managed to visit a local park and zoo. And we spent a day at the beach. Yes, the beach! The weather couldn't have been better with sunshine and 70s.

We went to see the monarch butterflies that migrate here and rest in a grove of eucalyptus trees on the coast. They were amazing. Some clung to the trees in clusters and while others fluttered freely through the air. It reminded me of THIS group of monarchs:

Owen's kindergarten class studied the life cycle of the butterfly about a month ago and then held a butterly parade at school where they released their monarchs into the wild. So it was fitting that we pay the butterflies a visit and see them in their natural environment.

Back at the beach, we played near the water's edge. We drew with sticks in the sand and built castles and motes. The water was at low tide, even lower tide than normal because of the season or moon or whatever combination. So we were able to enjoy the exposed rocky cliffs and extra seaweed.

We had to take full advantage of our beach day because the weather was just so pleasant. So we also visited a small marine discovery center on the UC Santa Cruz campus. The boys got to touch sharks and sea stars, compare furcoats of seals and otters, and watch all sorts of sea life swim through their tanks.

The entire weekend was really great. And I feel especially thankful to live in such a great place and to have wonderful family with which to share it.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Fall Soccer

There's something about fall soccer. It feels familiar. Like running into an old friend. A turning of events from the ease of summer to the routine of fall. We began the season back in August, showing up to practices and games in our shorts and flip flops; guzzling down lots of water to keep cool. And week by week, the season progressed just as summer turned to fall. Slowly but surely, as the days grew cooler and the leaves changed color, we began layering up for practices and games. Until finally at our end-of-season tournament we watched from the sidelines in our jackets and warm boots. Cheering on our team, The Little Rascals.

Owen had a wonderful experience with soccer this time around. He showed so much improvement from last year. I think it was a combination of great coaching and being more grown up. He was so excited to go to practices and games. His teammates and his coaches really boosted his confidence. He went in not knowing a single kid on the team, and he walked away with a new batch of friends and a desire to play with the same coaches in the spring.

I didn't get many photos of the games this year because I was too busy watching and enjoying them. But here are a few shots I took for the grandparents.

Owen's team did really well. They took first place in the tournament and got an additional trophy to show for it. Two trophies and one happy soccer player. What more could you ask for?

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

A Happy Halloween

The boys went for a reptilian theme this year. They chose to be a turtle and a dragon for Halloween. The turtle was easy because Owen wore the same costume when he was younger. And though Mark would rather he went as something "cooler", Gavin insisted on being a turtle. And a very cute turtle he was.

O's costume was a little harder. I looked around for dragon costumes, but I didn't like anything I saw. They all looked cheesy, or toddler-ish, or too much like a dinosaur. I wanted him to have a more grownup dragon look...without being gross. I think we achieved it. Sure the costume could have been more comprehensive, but the overall look was great.

You can catch a glimpse of our pumpkin carving in the photos above. But you can't see all the work that went into Owen's pumpkin. He first drew out a plan on paper, then he drew it on the pumpkin. And he carved it mostly by himself. I thought the finished project looked amazingly like his plan...and amazingly good. But he didn't think it was as creepy as Gavin's (Mark's) jack-o-lantern face. So he had Mark help him carve a creepier one on the back. Double the face, double the creepy I guess.

And I'll leave you with this photo we call "Halloween turtle of joy". Hope you had a Happy Halloween!