Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Half Moon Bay, More Reflections & Hot Chocolate, and Day-to-Day 365 stuff

We have been having such a busy, fun January!  One of my favorites on record actually, and I think it's because we have decided to beat the January blues by doing lots and lots of fun things.  The other week we decided to take the girls to Half Moon Bay to watch the winter surf, which is always amazing and powerful.  It was chilly and blustery as most of our January days have been, but still beautiful.  We had lunch at Sam's Chowder House afterwards.

Rose was scaring us with how adamant she was about climbing all over these huge rocks by herself.  She kept scaring herself too, though, and would call out for help one second while pushing away the next.

Her cheesy pose & smile for dad.

The girls shared some fish & chips and Paul and I each got a big bowl of clam chowder.  Which okay, okay, is not Whole30 compliant but we decided not to be ridiculously fastidious towards the end of our Whole30.  I would say we finished out at about 95% compliance (which I know according to the Whole30 "rules" would equal a fail and require a restart).  We justified it based on having already finished a real one and knowing we didn't have food allergies or issues to deal with - more just the sugar cravings and dysfunctional food relationships and we kept those under control (i.e., we didn't order desserts, stayed away from dairy & grain with small exceptions like this chowder, etc.) during this round.  Because everybody reading this needed to know all that...

After Half Moon Bay, we drove up through the Santa Cruz mountains.  We stopped for a little hike down to see this swollen creek, admire the giant fallen trees, and hunt for banana slugs.

I keep looking at 365 prompts but then doing my own thing based on what inspires me that day.  Like when I caught Rose after church one Sunday, hiding underneath our bed covers, dressed in a leotard and Cinderella skirt, eating stolen fruit snacks that she found while pawing through my blue church bag, scattering its contents everywhere.  I grabbed Paul so he could witness her naughtiness but not before I grabbed my camera first.

She was pretty pleased with herself.

Clara still loves gymnastics.  Rose loves sitting and watching the iPad while Clara practices.

Oh the messes these girls make!  I swear they pull out every single toy when they are playing and for the life of me I can't get the idea across that they need to put one toy away before getting another out.  At least Clara usually has a pretty good attitude about helping me clean up the mess at the end of the day.  Rose, not so much.  But we're working on it.

We went to the Oakland Zoo last Friday and I forgot my big camera.  It's the first day of my 365 project that I only have an iPhone picture, which is better than I thought I would be doing by now!  The otters and baboons were our favorites this time.  They were so playful and active!  But the elephants, lions, tigers, bears, alligators, macaws, chimpanzees and squirrel monkeys were all really active and moving around too, which was fun because so often they are all just sleeping when we go.

My P52 group's photo prompt for the week was "selfless selfie" where you take a picture of something that says something about you without actually including yourself in the image.  I actually ended up with something I like better but my first thought was to stack all of our travel books in a big pile.  I love browsing travel books and magazines and haven't done it in a long time.  Those little "Top 10" guides are actually some of my favorites and have come in handy for past trips.  I have been feeling antsy for a big trip again lately and flipping through some of these pages and feeling inspired by the images gets me excited about the possibilities of where we might go next (most likely Costa Rica this November over Thanksgiving).

This is my favorite reflection shot I took in January, when I was paying attention to opportunities to take pictures with reflections in them.  I saw somebody else take a picture and flip it on its head so the reflection stood out more as the subject, so it's not like I'm super creative in this.  But I am in love with her perfect pose, the dynamic sky behind her, and the centered composition.

Some other favorites from the same day...  We have an hour to kill on the playground every Monday while Clara is in Spanish class so Rose had plenty of time to play in the puddles and have the school equipment all to herself.

After Clara got done with class, I told her we could hang out for a little bit longer, thinking she would want to play on the equipment like the swings.  But instead, she just wanted to run around the track at school.  Run Club is every other Friday and it's probably Clara's favorite thing about Kindergarten.  

When we got home, I offered to make hot chocolate for the girls.  We haven't done this in a while and they absolutely loved it.  I made it barely warm and both girls guzzled it down with smacking lips and little groans of satisfaction.  They have been asking for it again most days since then, which is funny since they have never been huge hot chocolate drinkers until now.

I posted this on instagram, but when I was taking these photos, my heart was just melting over the little dimples in Rose's knuckles.  It reminds me of how little she still is with her baby-pudge hands, even though she seems so big most days in a lot of other respects.

Rose in her Valentine's Day dress.  We went to take some pictures and this is one of the outtakes.  It's also probably the best shot I got with dramatic lighting, even though I have some that I like even more of both girls when they were having fun playing.  It's so hard when you can't get your kids to play in the exact light you want them to, lol.  She loves her new dress from Grandma Cece and has been begging me to wear it ever since it arrived in the mail.  Now that we have taken pictures, I'm letting the girls wear their new outfits (we're close enough to Feb. 14th, right?) and they couldn't be happier about it.

My 365 picture from Inauguration Day.  Like pretty much everybody else, it seems, my heart is troubled over the state of our country lately.  It's not just our new president, but also the American people and the way everybody is acting and reacting that concerns me.  I'm basically trying to avoid social media as much as possible, not out of a desire to be an ostrich with my head stuck in the sand, but more to just avoid the negativity that is overrunning my feeds.

And lastly, a picture of laundry.  Actually, this is my other attempt at a "selfless selfie" and it's of three of my favorite cardigans.  I have had these for far too long and they are all showing a bit of wear.  They don't hold their shape like they used to and are a bit worse for the wear.  But they were still bright lying there in the sunshine and they are still so comfortable and enjoyable to wear.  They made me think of myself at this stage of life and feeling worn out and maybe a bit faded from what I once was, though still bright and colorful and hopefully reliable.  Anyone who knows me knows I wear a cardigan almost every day, even many days during the summer (CA summers are cool in the mornings and evenings so I can get away with it), so I just felt like this shot was appropriate and I love that it was unplanned, unlike the one I took with the travel books.  I just happened to notice them and the idea of the selfless selfie popped in my head.

And just like that, here we are at the last day of January!  I'm amazed that tomorrow is February 1st.  I have one more post about a trip to Tahoe that we did this past weekend, but I haven't had a chance to go through those pictures yet and this post is long enough already.

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