Saturday, September 20, 2014

Hiking Baby!

Today we went on a 1.5 mile hike with the kiddos.
This is quite the feat for us.  Most "hikes" we have complete with children have been on wide, well groomed trails that constituted more of a walk or pleasant stroll.  Well, not anymore!
Also, by popular demand this post will include ultrasound baby pictures!!

 Yeah for hiking!


 Somehow this was a safer way to hike when the trail got steep...

 Cute profile 
My son is a Sith Lord!!!

Friday, September 5, 2014

Northern Cali

Hurray! Aubrey, Nate, and Grandpa Winter decided about 3 weeks ago that they wanted to take advantage of the long Labor Day weekend and come visit us.  Instead of meeting us in Albany and the surrounding area (which has plenty to see, don't let this deter any future visitors), we decided to meet up in Northern California and camp in the Redwoods.  I didn't object to the 4 hours drive because I am in love with the Redwoods, so I was completely stoked for the trip.  Plus, we got to squeeze in a camping trip for the year which just added to the whole family's excitement.  Brad got off on Friday afternoon at normal time and we drove down after work. We got to the KOA campground in Crescent City after dark.  The campground was on the outskirts of the forest and was a fun place to call our home base.  It had warm water, showers, a playground, and goats that the kids got to feed with Grandpa. We spent Saturday, Sunday and half of Monday exploring the Redwoods and the coast.  It was a complete blast.  Thank you so much Grandpa, Aubrey, Nate, Ainsley, and Hy for making the long trip.  We had so so so much fun.
We went on 3 short trails (Simpson, Stout, and Hiouchi) in Jedediah Smith State Park.  Here we are at the first stop, Simposon Trail.  
Grandpa made the mistake of climbing up this huge pile of logs, so of course all the kiddos had to follow his example.  It made for a fun picture since I wasn't willing to brave it with my preggy belly.

Taking a break on the trail to give some Grandpa hugs.  

Ainsley and Ellie were in heaven just being together all the time.  They spent every car ride in the same car and had many an adventure exploring the never ending playground of the Redwood forest.  

Hy-Guy and Christian sitting on the "turtle knots" as Ellie called them.  

Brad trying to carry these two rambunctious boys

We had many a log challenge.  A log challenge is walking from one end of a fallen tree to the other without falling off.  It was a fun game for the kids to play.

Here we area at Stout Grove.   After Stout Grove, we went to camp and had lunch.   After lunch we played at the beach in Crescent City before dinner.  I didn't have my camera so I didn't get any pictures.  

Sunday morning, when tide was low, we went to the Battery Point Light House to hike across the rocks and visit the ligthouse and  explore tidepools.  We had a lot of fun seeing crabs, starfish and anemones.    

We decided to drive down to Prarie Creek State Park after playing in the tidepools to see Fern Canyon.  We stopped off before entering the forest to see the Paul Bunyan statue.  

We took a scenic byway through Prarie Creek and stopped to see the Corkscrew Tree.  This little blue jay followed us all the way back to our car from the tree.  He must've wanted a treat.  

This is the only picture I got of my two kiddos together.  Ellie was too connected to Ainsley for me to get her away for a picture with her boring brother.  I couldn't even get her to focus enough to smile and look at the camera for the picture
We stopped for lunch at a picnic spot on Sunday before we drove up a dirt road about 8 miles to Fern Canyon.  When we got about 4 miles in, we stopped at the Ranger Post where we were informed that Fern Canyon and the beach near the canyon were both packed due to the holiday weekend and cars were backed up a half mile waiting for a parking spot.  We decided to not wait, so we turned around and headed back.  I felt bad recommending the site, driving over an hour to get there only to turn around and go back home.  Oh well.  The kids had fun in the car and the scenery was spectacular.  Back at camp we had a Sunday lesson by Grandpa, played at the playground, made dinner, and pretty much went to bed.  We woke up Monday morning and packed up camp.  After camp was cleaned up, we went to McDonald's for lunch since the kids had it in their mind that they were going to eat there since the appearance of Grandpa.  Christian and Hy-Guy even played at camp in the trailer pretending to be Grandpa driving to McDonald's.  We drove to the Jedediah Smith Campground after lunch and enjoyed one final trail before saying goodbye to our cousins.
In the summer at the Jedediah Smith Campground, a seasonal bridge is built across the river next to the campground to access a trail system on the other side of the River.  We took the Hiouchi Trail a short ways and enjoyed some additional magnificent trees.  The kids called this the teepee.  

Chris and Hy made sure to find some good pieces of wood to throw off the bridge on the way back.  

Here's Grandpa being a daredevil.  Actually, all the men had fun getting off this bit of wood.  I am hoping Aubrey will post the video later.  
We had such a great time and had a hard time saying goodbye knowing that it will probably be months before we see our cousins, aunt, uncle and Grandpa again.  We are so glad for the fun memories we made.