Friday, May 20, 2011

John Muir House Tour

I know, I  know! We JUST get back from Spring Break and off we go on a field trip!
Ah, that's the beauty of homeschooling!
We started off with a quick Youtube biography of John Muir. Check it out for yourself here.
I've always thought of this man as inspiring in the areas of conservation and exploration. 
I did not know he was also a Scottish immigrant and creator inventor.
He traveled around like a tramp for a good deal of his life.  
Going as far as Alaska to find glaciers, like this one which was eventually named after him:
But when he finally meet and married his wife, he decided to
 settle down for 10 years to support his family.
In that one decade he made more than 4 times what most of us will see in our lifetime.
His trade?  Fruit trees.  
Aside from being a wise businessman, he was also an author.  Eventually penning more than a dozen books.
But even as a published author, it was his passion for conserving nature that made him famous.
He started the Sierra Club and even had the privilege of camping
 for a few days with President Theodore Roosevelt. 
At home he lived humbly with his two daughters and his wife.
And he didn't live in this 10,000 sq ft mansion until the very end of his life.  
It was originally his father-in-law's retirement home.
All the touches of elegance were most likely there from his in-laws.   
Factoids aside, we thoroughly enjoyed our docent.
Seriously, we (mommas of the group) offered to pay him to tour other CA parks with our group!
He told engaging stories, but more than that he wasn't the least bit condescending to the kids.
And that is a quality I admire in an adult leader!
We ended the tour up in the attic ringing the bell in the tower.  
And from a photographic standpoint the lighting was amazing!
After our tour we hung out near the Adobe house on site and had lunch.
I couldn't believe what a warm day it was....but the kids ran around this orchard like it was going out of style.  The perfect ending to a fantastic field trip!
Just ask him....
no never mind he was too hot to answer respectfully ;)
Nothing we love more than learning alongside great friends.
Here is just a few of our crew:
And John Muir, we'll be back to hike your trails next time.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Spring Break: Six Flags on the Fly

The day before I was due to go out of town we were invited to our friendly neighborhood amusement park.  What a treat it was to hang out with this big guy Isaac.
(who happens to be celebrating a BIRTHDAY today!  Woo hoo!)
There was another great momma who followed around the 'big' kids to the REAL roller coasters.
So I really only met up with the boys for lunch. 
Meanwhile, Natalia and I rocked the kiddie rides....

Well she more than me..... 
But she was in good company.
And me and my sad, sad vertigo were never in danger.
I'm so thankful for great friends that think of us for such fun excursions.
We'll follow you guys anywhere ;)
Thank you for wrapping up our Spring Break with whooping and hollaring!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Photoshoot: Mount Diablo

After much anticipation....I conducted my first 'engagement' shoot in the meadows of Mount Diablo.
This is my beautiful cousin Felicia and her groom to be Kyle.
They entrusted me with a little photo time and drug me up the mountainside.....not kicking and screaming but oh so willingly!
Armed with two cameras....which cut down on my need to swap lenses constantly.  
A milestone for me, but not a luxury I will soon get used to.
Instead, it was a necessity since Courtney (my Sony Alpha) has been on her last leg....
A broken external flash, a non-existent view screen and a corroded battery charger, to name a few issues.
The camera I borrowed from a friend was a Nikon.
Um, yes, can we say I SWOONED over that little baby?
The difference is not so much in the quality of the pics considering it's the same rookie using them!
The Nikon shutter is much faster, and SO much lighter.
But I digress.....don't you let me wallow in envy....
Courtney just needs a tune up and we'll be back in business before I know it! 
Back to the shoot... 
Beyond the loving glances and sweet embraces, the most vivid thing I remember about our time together was...

Every time we moved among these weeds we'd stir up a plague! 
No joke, buzzing our heads, flying into our mouths, etc.
It was quite entertaining.... 
That and the crazy lighting made the 
 whole thing a bit of an adventure.
And with these two, I bet that's indicative of the journey they are beginning.
I so enjoyed their playfulness,
 as well as their affection. 
I hope they won't mind me telling you that they first met in 8th grade.....
And yet, I can't help thinking that their love was appointed for such a time as this.
And not a moment sooner... 
Thank you two for sharing the afternoon with me.
And were a heck of a good sport.
I bet you didn't think you could smile for 2 hours straight! 
Just wait, you'll do it again at the wedding....
and September is so much sooner than we think!
Until then lovebirds,

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Spring Break: Beach break

Even though we had a break from 'school' for two weeks...our extracurricular activities didn't stop.
That and the rain put a bit of a damper on any long road trips. 
So there was one day we packed up just after lunch and headed to Berkeley to check out the Adventure Playground. I've always wanted to take the kids there but apparently they are only open on weekends this month.  Boo to that, but hoorah for the beach across the path.
We stayed to toss some rocks before heading home.

After fashioning a sand dune dam and throwing every rock and stick they could find......
we headed home for one of the boy's baseball games.
A little time in the sun with our toes in the waves makes for a fulfilling day.
Thankfully we didn't have to drive very far ;)