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Boogie boarding


We had lots of fun boogie boarding this last weekend in Watsonville (near Santa Cruz) at Manresa State Beach (same name as an excellent Michelin-rated restaurant in Los Gatos, Manresa). This is our favorite beach in the area.  The waves are long rollers and break nicely on the sand (no rocks, and no drop-off close to the shore, unlike New Brighton beach a couple miles away).

Wetsuits are pretty much required to stay in the water any length of time… we managed like 5 hours!

I have more pictures from the outing here.

Monterey Diving

Derek Diving

I finally got a hold of some cold water diving gear, and went with a hockey buddy of mine (thanks Igor!) to Monterey Bay to do some diving. We took it easy and just went to the breakwater at San Carlos Beach right near Cannery Row. We ended up doing three dives throughout the day, where we saw crab, seabass, lingcods, a leopard shark, and amazingly a diving cormorant underwater at about 50′ deep (see video). This was at the Metridium fields about 100 yards off the shore. Water temperature was around 54 degrees down to about 45 feet where there was a thermocline which dropped the temperature to the upper 40s. Thank goodness for the thick wetsuit!


On the surface, there were the usual sea lions and sea otters.  Overall it was very good diving, visibility around 20′ to 25′ and very calm.


Crab and Lingcod:

Crab   Lingcod

Metridium (nice wallpaper):


Kudos to the person that identifies this:




Golf Anyone?


That’s what they claim anyway – “Devil’s Golf Course”.    Could make for a long, long game of golf. 🙂

Where is this, you ask?  Well, instead of getting all dressed up and chowing down at a huge brunch, we decided to go camping in Death Valley over the Easter weekend.    Probably not the first thing to come to mind if someone where to ask you what your plans were for Easter, but we certainly weren’t the only ones to think of it.    In fact, the camp sites were all pretty full!   I have to admit, we probably would never have thought of going if it weren’t for one of our colleagues at work telling us how cool Death Valley is, particularly in the Spring with all of the wildflowers in bloom.    Here are a couple of my favorite shots with the contrast of the colorful wildflowers with the harsh landscape behind them.



The weather could not have been better.   The mornings we were able to visit the low lying areas such as the sand dunes  where the kids trekked 2 miles out, determined to make it to the top of the highest dune…and make it they did!  Super fun running down too!  🙂   In the afternoons when the temperatures started pushing 90 degrees, we would head up to the many different canyon areas with huge variations in types of rock with a perfect temperature of around 70.

 And here’s a complete photo album of our trip (also includes a couple videos)!

The keeping the fingers crossed paid off and we ended up with a warm sunny weekend for James’ birthday party!  Phew!   We were taking a risk by having it at home again this year, but it the sun gods were good to us yet again.  🙂 James is addicted to soccer, so that was the theme of the day.   We rented a huge jumpy house that had a basketball net and a slide inside that we put in the front yard and set up the soccer nets in the back.    The kids (including me and Derek) had a blast in the jumpy house.



The extra excitement of the day was two loose teeth that finally came out this day.  You can chalk it up to all of that bouncing…oh and a pair of tweezers that Jacob decided to let James use to help his out the rest of the way since the bouncing wasn’t doing the trick!  Eeek!  Here they are showing off their new grins!

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This was a whirlwind weekend for sure.  I was in Raleigh for work the entire week before, only getting back on Friday evening.   Saturday was running around doing all of the last minute shopping and making the cake, Sunday the party and then I had to pack up again to be back on a plane at 6:20am  Monday morning for another week in Raleigh.  Crazy! …but you have to be back for the birthdays!  🙂

Snowy Yosemite

Half Dome

Last weekend we went up to Yosemite for a great time sledding, hiking, and skating. There was lots of snow, so we had to keep chains on the car, but it was definitely worth it! So, much fun! Check out more pictures from the trip here.

snow fort

James skating

Oh, and the Happy Burger Diner in Mariposa has good Mocha Almond Fudge shakes, and burgers, and nachos, and baked potatoes. So good that we went twice on the trip, once on the way there and once on the way home!

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