Sunday, April 02, 2006

Adventures in Hiking and our CaliforniaTrip

We're hanging out with Jo and Aja (who just got back from London and are living with us while they finish the last details on their new house next door), listening to conference while the kids play out on the balcony on an absolutely perfect spring day. Between conference sessions, Jared and I took the three older kids on a hike - you just head right out from our house and there are all these amazing hikes. There are wildflowers and new green leaves bursting out all over and it's so pretty to see the desert in bloom. We hiked way up into the hills (with the boys scampering up everything like little mountain goats and Eliza alternating between whining and delighting in the fact that hiking is so fun - Jared swears she's schizophrenic) and found this great narrows area and Ashton and I decided to try hiking up it. There were some tricky parts, but I was so proud and Ashton was quite impressed that I was able to use different rock climbing techniques to get up several hard parts. Then we got to a place with a hole the kids were able to climb up and through to get to the next level and the kids did it no problems. Given how small the hole was, Jared and I decided to go up another way which worked out great for Jared but not so well for me. I got up to a certain point and couldn't figure out where to go from there and couldn't get up or down with my legs and arms getting progressively more shakey the longer I held on. I finally got back down (with Jared's help) and decided to try the hole the kids went through. I got into it just fine but couldn't get the leverage to get out of it so Jared tried to lift me up and out but my legs were too long and would have had to be able to bend backwards to make it work. We were both laughing pretty hard and the kids were pretty interested and excited to see me totally stuck in a hole. I finally got back down and up another way - and the view from the top was amazing. Wow, I need to work out more! My legs and arms felt like jello after all that. It was such a beautiful hike and a good adventure.

Anyway, I loved conference - got a lot of needed messages out of it. Here are some of the main ideas about what I need to change in my life that I got from the conference talks:
  • Remember that we are free to choose, that we can make our lives what they should be, and that we can and should choose JOY.
  • USE the gift of the Holy Ghost more - find answers, find peace, block out senseless worries with the gift of the Holy Ghost
  • Rejoice in my present calling as a mother more fully
  • Make more of an effort to reach out to non-Mormon friends and become more involved in this community.
  • Make more of a concerted effort to help those around me reach their potential.
We had a great time last weekend in California seeing old friends, seeing family, visiting our old house and neighborhood, going to our old ward, and going to the wedding of a good friend (Phil) from Jared's Applied Materials days. Chris and Hedy were so kind to put us up in style at their beautiful house and it was so nice to spend some time with them as well as Ashley, Ben, Mike and Elisha and kids. And we loved spending a couple nights with Kathryn and MJ and family as well in Piedmont. It was amazing to see everyone's kids so big - it's been almost a year since we moved. But other than bigger kids and lots of new babies in our old ward, not much else seemd to have changed. Wow - it's green in California! It's just so lush with deep green and flowers filling every available spot of earth. The trees seemed so big since we've just got little scrubby desert trees here. And the houses seemed so small and run-down. We were refreshed to see all the diversity of the people everywhere we went. I do love the Bay Area. But while it was great to be there again, enjoy its beauty and see dear friends and relatives, it made us feel all the more sure that we made the right move to get out of there. We've been there and done that. It was really time for a change and we feel so right about having left when we did.
My wonderful friend Amy who's always always done so much for me put together a lunch with a bunch of my old friends and it was great to catch up with everyone. The kids got to play on the swingset at our old house that looks EXACTLY like it did when we left, only it looks smaller since we're so used to the larger homes here now. I still can't believe we sold that tiny house for so much! We took a walk through the big beautiful cemetery near our old house as the kids reminisced that they'd learned to ride their bikes there and shared all these little random memories about things we'd pretended there or things they'd noticed that were still the same. It's so interesting to see what the kids remember. The cemetery was their number one place they wanted to go when we were in California. That and the beach in Santa Cruz and the Boardwalk there - but we didn't quite make it to that one. With Hedy and Elisha's two kids who were staying with her for the weekend, we fought the crowds at the San Jose Children's Discovery Museum on a rainy Saturday and felt glad to be away from such throngs of people as we lost and found each kid a couple times. The kids had a wonderful time - Ashton couldn't get enough of figuring out how this machine that did stuff with tennis balls worked and all the kids were facinated with everything. We got to spend an afternoon with our good friends the Harringtons and ate at some favorite restaurants (there's no Indian food or In and Out Burger or Zackary's Pizza around here).
Church at our old ward was great - and crazy - as we were talking to people left and right - so many wonderfully good people who we were able to serve and who were so kind to us especially with the twins' birth. That ward really knows how to take care of people. I don't know if there could be kinder, more Christ-like people than many of those we knew in the Santa Clara ward!
The wedding was Sunday afternoon at this gorgeous winery up in the hills above Palo Alto and it was really lovely and fun for Jared to see a lot of old Applied Materials friends. We took the twins with us and left the boys with Amy and Eliza with another friend, Lori, whose kids treated Eliza like an absolute princess and gave her a bunch of beautiful hand-me-down clothes to take home (Eliza had just grown out of all the stuff Lori gave me previously, so it was perfect!). The twins weren't great at the wedding, but it was better than worrying about them being left with someone else. Oliver did quite a show throwing up at the end of dinner and we left fairly quickly after that - Oliver doing some more throwing up in the car. We bathed him at Amy's and thankfully that was it. Other than the diarreah. Our kids get this weird throw up twice then have diarreah for a day every so often - and it was great timing for this bout. But luckily Oliver was the only one to get it this time round. He didn't seem sad or uncomfortable at all. It's a weird bug. But luckily we were sitting at a table at the wedding with other peopel who have kids and they weren't too terribly disgusted - plus everyone was a bit tipsy by that time of night which helped.
The kids were generally great in the car and it was so nice to get away and have some family time. It's sort of nice to be stuck in a car where all you can really do is talk and play car games and tell stories and just sort of be together. There are plenty of moments when everyone's a big cranky on long trips like this. But Jared's a great driver and I go back and tell stories and play peekaboo with the kids and we do a few DVDs as necessary and stop at any available playland when everyone really needs a break and it's really pretty decent. I'm so grateful for this wonderful little family of mine.
I'll write about the Bull Sale in Idaho. That car trip (weekend before last) was a lot harder but worth it - a shorter drive actually but the kids were worse - the twins would NOT sleep in the car and entertaining them got old fast. Maybe the trip to California was easier because the kids were sort of used to being in the car since it had only been three days since we got back from Idaho. We sort of had our car routine down for this California trip.
Anyway, got to go shower off all the red dirt from this hike and get to bed.
I'm so blessed.

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