A time honored tradition - walking through Candy Cane Lane. Every year the residents in a nearby neighborhood decorate their homes & yards & put on a light display like nowhere else. Everything is voluntary (don't think about their power bills!) with some help from the community (Santa Claus visit). Candy Cane Lane is a favorite with the locals...and us!
During a week long of fall break we decided to do a little sight-seeing: some close, some not so close.
First up was the lighthouse down the street from our home - Point Pinos. The view is breathtaking as it faces the ocean keeping boats safe from the rocky coast.
Next stop was Hearst Castle in San Simeon, CA
The "house" took 25 years to complete all the building, additions, etc. & cost $30 million during the 1920's - 1930's. A modest home for W.R. Hearst to entertain his A-list friends. The property boasted a zoo, 2 pools, tennis courts, cottages & in home theatre.
Care for a swim?
The insides are just what you'd see in any castle in Europe - considering most of the insides came from castles & churches in Europe.
Next on the tour is the Mystery Spot
The Mystery Spot is a gravitational anomaly located in the redwood forests just outside of Santa Cruz, California.
No, my camera is not tilted. The shed is straight but the ground is sloping. Hard to explain. You just have to experience it for yourself!
Stephen & I were part of the experiment since we are about the same height. He'd stand on one end of a board & I on the other end. Inside mystery spot I was significantly taller but when we switched places & I stood outside the "spot" Stephen was much taller. Weird, right? Welcome to the "Twilight Zone"...
Emma's kindergarten class worked hard for their Thanksgiving program of poems, costumes, and coming up with their own Indian name. Emma, aka Rainbow Flower, recited poems that taught colors, numbers, being thankful while dressed up in her Indian head dress & necklace, banging on her drum. What is she thankful for? "My family". Awwww
Emma decided to try ballet. What began as 1 6-week session turned out to be 5 6-week sessions. She loved ballet so much that we continued the entire way through. At the end of each session the parents are allowed to view a class, seeing what the dancers learned. We were lucky that, although each session is taught the same techniques, the teacher added a bit more so Emma was able to really learn the positions plus a bit more each time.
The annual Butterfly Parade is held every October in Pacific Grove to welcome back the Monarch Butterflies to PG for the winter. Pacific Grove is nicknamed "Butterfly Town" for this very reason. The 2 elementary school children dress up in costumes - whatever their grade decides on - and marches in a small parade. The honor of the butterflies goes to the kindergarten classes of both schools. They work very hard making their wings & antennae headbands, learning about butterflies & insects and creating their own butterflies in class. This is our first year experiencing the parade and our own Emma got to be a butterfly!
March of the Monarchs
After the parade a bazaar is held in the back of an elementary school with lots of carnival type games, bounce houses, bake sales, snow cones & other yummy & fun booths.
The Presidio of Monterey (POM) hosted a super bike racer event a few weeks ago during the lunch hours. We pulled Stephen from his lunch period to see a super bike up close. He loved it, got a signed autograph, sat on the bike & met a racer all in 20 minutes. We then bought tickets for the races that weekend. Although bike racing isn't a favorite of Stephens' it was pretty cool to watch how fast & low to the ground they get.
Soccer season begins later here since the weather turns warmer in September - November. Both kids are playing & none are crying! (see last year's soccer experience) Stephen is on a competitive team with 2 practices a week and 1.5 hour games while Emma is learning to play soccer on her small team. Her pink shoes certainly help with her skills.
One thing about living in Pacific Grove is the number of car shows the town hosts through the year. One afternoon downtown was lined up with beautifully restored old classic cars. Stephen, Emma & I strolled through the foggy & windy streets for an hour. Stephen took possession of my camera...
(These are just a FEW of the pictures he took. He was so excited to be up close & personal with the cars.)
School started earlier than the kids are used to but I was SO ready for them to return so when August 7th came around, we were ready! Stephen started 7th grade while Emma officially began her school years entering Kindergarten. She has a wonderful teacher & is learning so much already while Stephen is spreading his wings a bit more as he takes on more responsibility for his life in school. Both kids are flourishing and we couldn't be happier with their progression.
Before school started, our family took a little vacation away from the coast & headed to Oakland for the weekend. Greg and I attended at temple session at the Oakland Temple (it's the closest). The next day we took in an Oakland A's game. What an adventure. First off, Oakland is a little run down as far as we could see but the stadium is the jewel of the town. We bought tickets from a scalper making sure the tickets were for that game, day & time. (You never can be too sure!) We had been given some good advice before we left - wear black or green no matter what (team colors), have ushers escort you to your seats - just because you have tickets for seats doesn't mean that someone else won't sit in them, and stick together! We had a great time, the home team won which made EVERYONE happy and getting out of town wasn't too bad. :)
My cousin Dave and his family were in the neighborhood this summer so we hooked up and met up at Point Lobos for a few hours. It was so great to see someone familiar & to meet their newest addition along with seeing how grown-up their girls are. We had a great time visiting, hiking, eating and playing.
Over Memorial Day weekend we were so lucky to have both Grandma & Grandpa Price & Cassat join us for Stephen's birthday and Aaronic Priesthood ordination. The weather cooperated and we enjoyed ourselves showing them around the Monterey Peninsula. Thanks so much for coming to see us!
Wow! Hard to believe that my little baby boy is now 12 years old (& not so little). I look at him and marvel at how well he's adjusted to our new adventure in CA, taken his big brother role seriously and continues to be a super kid. Happy Birthday, buddy!Here's how his birthday celebration started...
He really is thrilled for his birthday. I think the "preteen angst" is just starting.
Making a wish or two... which includes chocolate cake for breakfast!