Thursday, August 30, 2012

Whale Watching Adventures



It's crazy that all of this gorgeous shoreline and Pacific Ocean is just a 10 minute drive from our house or a long 7 mile jog/walk from our house through a back trail.
I guess living here for the last 10 years, I've taken it for granted that the beach is right at my fingertips.
I live in a place that people come from all over the world to vacation at!
I honestly hate the beach.
I hate sand...
Me and sand....
we just don't work well with eachother.

Yesterday, while D was in daycare, Nick and I decided to go on a "day date" and go whale watching.
I can't believe that we've been in Cali for 10 years now and have never gone whale watching!
It was really nice to just go out during the day, just the two of us, and enjoy the gorgeous weather, sunshine, and blue waters.
Not to mention, we saw some AMAZING sea life.

These are common dolphins. We boated our way through a school of them. They were so neat, so cute, and so loveable! They just swam right along next to the boat.




The Capt of the boat said that it is VERY rare that the blue whales ever come up to the surface of the ocean to feed. We got so lucky. We just happened to be out on a day when the krill (the food they eat) were all on the surface of the water. This meant the whales were just wading at the top of the water, and we got some amazing glances at them. In fact, the total count of whales we saw were 6! He said they have some years where they go all whale watching season without seeing a single blue whale. The sheer size of them is astonishing. I knew that blue whales are the biggest animals in the world, but the see them out in the wild like we did yesterday just made me truly appreciate the wonders of the ocean.

waving its' dorsal fin at us


blow hole


That little red boat in the far left of the pic was research boat. They were tagging the whales for research.





This flat shiny surface on the water is called a "whales footprint". When they dive down into the ocean, their tail fin causes this "mirage" on top of the water. So cool!

The trip was totally worth every penny, and I can not believe we never went sooner!
I highly recommend everyone go check it out!
It's whale watching season, and it's the perfect time to go!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Homeliness

No idea if the title of this blog is even a word, but it's the first thing that popped into my head.
Nick got in yesterday afternoon, and we've already done so much! 
 
I drove up to LA yesterday to pick him up from the dreaded LAX. Did I mention how much I HATE that airport? Oh, not to mention, I HATE the traffic. Did I ALSO mention, I hate the crazy PSYCHOTIC drivers lunatics in LA? 
After suffering several mild anxiety attacks on my drive, I made it just in time to meet Nick at the gate with a few minutes for me to spare. 
By this point, I really needed a glass of wine after the battlezone I had endured known as the I-405.
(Excuse the blurry picture)
I expected this dramatic welcoming (think "The Notebook") when I saw him coming from the terminal, but it was hardly anything close to it.
I'm so used to the nice atmosphere of the San Diego Airport and John Wayne Airport that when you compare LAX to the other two, it's like comparing Beverly Hills to Inglewood. 
Therefore, it's hardly a romantic setting to welcome home a loved one.
Either way, I was happy to have him home for a few days.
I made Nick drive back to the OC from LA (Praise Jesus for me!).
We stopped by at our favorite spot, The Sundried Tomato for a DELISH appetizer and a cocktail.
Now for the best part...
After we finished up our appetizers and drinks, we went to go surprise Dannika at her preschool.
She had no idea that Nick was going to come pick her up.
I think my excitement level would be comparable to the feeling of being 4 years old the night before Santa is supposed to arrive.
I'll just let you see for yourself, just how excited she was.
video

She is, without a doubt, daddy's little girl.
After the big surprise, Nick and I took Dannika out to dinner at our favorite sushi place in San Clemente (Tak-a-o). They're sushi is the best in the OC (in my professional asian sushi palate opinion). They're signature roll called the "Oh-no roll" is seriously perfection in a raw piece of fish and rice.
After dinner, we headed to Target to buy Dannika a new bicycle. We had church, but finished dinner a little early, so we had some time to kill.

*Just side note: Nick and I went to a lecture at our church by the famous Sean Mcdowell about "Shattering the Myths of Evolution". That is a WHOLE another blog post*

She has outgrown her tricycle for a few weeks now, but I really wanted Nick to be here and experience her "first bicycle moment" (hey...as a parent, every little moment counts, right?). I wasn't about to take that kind of a special moment away from a father who bought her a bicycle helmet in Quantico that resembled a pony (this is before we even considered buying her an actual bicycle). (see below)
 This morning our family was up bright and early, and Nick and Dannika were outside at 0730 riding bikes.
video


I can't wait to tell y'all more about our time with Nick! 
Stay tuned!

Saturday, August 18, 2012

ANOTHER Birthday Celebration

Dannika's friend Taj from preschool turned 4 this month, and his Super Hero birthday party was today at Dannika's preschool!
(Taj just happens to be Ms. Kathi's grandson)
Let me just say, we are completely pooped and exhausted beyond belief!
It was a party filled with pool time, pinata, a guest appearance from Spiderman, balloon sword fight, bubbles, cake, hot dogs....oh my gosh.....

We. Are. Pooped.


D and the Birthday boy


After a quick dip in Ms. Kathi's pool

D's "ugly cry face". Apparently, she was not ready to get out of the pool yet. Since Ms. Kathi's daycare is licensed, she has strict guidelines she has to follow with having a pool in her back yard. That's why the pool in fenced in within the back yard. The grass where D is standing is where the kids play in the sprinklers and have outside time during preschool. 

Most of the kids were scared of Spiderman when he showed up. Dannika was the only one who was super excited to meet him!


Throwing spider webs at the green goblin

Gettin' a sweet Spider tattoo

That's pretty sweet.

D and her friend Elise from school. I LOVE THIS BACKYARD!!!


Spiderman also taught them some sweet sword fighting skills


Spiderman pinata


Bye Spiderman! 

Friday, August 17, 2012

30-1=29

My better half turns the big 2-9 today!

So much has happened in the last year since he turned 28.

Wine tastings, Sea World trips, College football (with a Roll Tide championship!),  Fall time BBQ's, a 2nd deployment to Afghanistan cut short, promotion to GySgt, selection to becoming the Assistant Marine Officer Instructor for Boston U, a completed back yard, a new addition to our family (Dozer), another long separation across the country, training young "kids" to become Marine Officers....

WOW!

Nick's year has been packed!

From ups and downs to all arounds,
You make it work, and you are just good at EVERYTHING that you do!

I love how God is working in our marriage and within you to make you be so successful.

He's got great plans for our family.

" For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." -Jeremiah 29:11


Happy Birthday to the man who blesses me everyday with his positive outlook, encouraging words, and hard working attitude to secure a future for our family.

I think part of the reason why I believe that God is real is because there is no way that without Him, you would be in my life.

I love you, OLD MAN!!!!
ENJOY 29!!!


Sunday, August 5, 2012

Birthdays and Cliques

August is unofficially "birthday month" for Dannika.
She pretty much has a birthday party to attend every single weekend of this month. 
That means I'll be one exhausted mommy.

There is probably some sort of psychological explanation for cliques, but I have been noticing in the last year or so that Dannika is part of a "clique" at her daycare/preschool.
There is a select group of 4 kids that have grown up together in daycare at Ms. Kathi's house since they were infants with Dannika being the youngest (by a year).
There have been several kids that have come in and come out, and this "clique" of toddlers are never very welcoming of the "new guy".
It takes quite a while for them to be accepting of a new kid in school.
I noticed at the birthday party yesterday that this group of kids ONLY played with each other.
Dannika is usually an extremely friendly little girl (too friendly to the point that it freaks me out a little!).
She will walk right up to a random stranger, smile, say hello, and shake their hand.
As a mother, I'm not thinking, "oh, what a friendly kid I have!" 
I'm thinking more along the lines of, "holy cow, she is walking up to a pedophile!"
It's just strange that when she's with "her clique" of pals from school, she kinda gets snobby towards other kids.
She's never like that in Sunday school or anywhere else. 
I'm hoping that this does not transpire into Kindergarten through high school.
 
The little girl Nina turned 4, and she is easily identified as Dannika's BFF in school.




Other than that, our family is doing fabulous.
My mom's been here all week and leaves Tuesday.
She's been such a huge help around the house.
Seriously, I've been coming home every day from work with laundry folded and put away, dishes done, house scrubbed clean from top to bottom, and dinner ready.
I've been way too spoiled.

Nick is doing well too.
This cycle seems to be flying by way faster than the last one.
(For those who don't know, Nick is spending the Summer in Quantico, VA at OCS as an instructor).
He hurt his knee pretty bad by flying over an obstacle on the O-course...poor guy.
It turned out to be just a bad sprain, so he's been slowly getting back on it.
All I ever hear him complain about is the heat and humidity.
It's so crazy because we both grew up in parts of the country with weather exactly like Quantico if not worse. We have seriously been entirely too spoiled by California.
My mom has actually complained that 75 degrees in the middle of August is too cold for her! 
CRAZY WOMAN! That's how you know someone has lived in Texas way too long. 
Nick will home at the end of the month for 10 days, so that will be nicer than the 3-4 days we've been having him home for throughout the Summer.

We are still studying to book of James at church, and I'll probably start blogging about it soon!


Friday, August 3, 2012

10 Reasons Why I Love Gabby Douglas


10> Her thousand kilowatt smile is a smile that is so easy to fall in love with.

9> She always looks so focused, but never nervous. If she is nervous, she NEVER shows it. I bet this is intimidating to other gymnasts that are competing against her.

8> The height she gets on the uneven bars is seriously ridiculous. Her nickname "Flying Squirrel" completely suits her.

7> Her floor routine music (We No Speak Americano) was the best out of all of the floor routines. It really got the crowd going, and I think it motivated her to just relax and have fun. I seriously feel like gymnasts (or whoever picks their music) floor routine music is terrible. It's like elevator music on crack. We need something exciting as spectators!!!!

6> She is mature beyond her years. If you've ever read her story, she told her mom at the age of 11 that she needed to move to another state to train with a better coach to get better and be challenged more. What 11 year old thinks like that?!

5> She (along with Team USA) has brought gymnastics back into the spotlight. I feel like gymnastics is often a forgotten sport.

4> She turns her sport into an art. WOW. That's all I can really say about that.

3> She's an inspiration to all athletes, no matter what sport they play. "Hard days are the best because that's where champions are made." If that's not motivation for an athlete having a rough day at practice coming from a gold medal winning Olympian, I don't know what is.

2> Her family. Girls like Gabby do not just happen without the support and guidance of an awesome family.

1> She loves God and is not afraid to say it on national TV. In her post medal ceremony interview, she said, ""It is everything I thought it would be; being the Olympic champion, it definitely is an amazing feeling. And I give all the glory to God. It's kind of a win-win situation. The glory goes up to him and the blessings fall down on me." She later posted on twitter, " "Let all that I am praise the LORD; may I never forget the good things He does for me."
In today's society with all the negativity surrounding Christians, it's refreshing to know that a young woman like herself can stay grounded and not let the fame and the glory go to her head.