Saturday, August 31, 2013

Santa Barbara Triathlon.... trip I took a week ago might come at you a bit out of order. Because it was broken up between three beautiful cities and 6 days, I think each portion may need its OWN post, ( and because that's just how my brain can function these days...!)
So, SB Tri. YES!!!! It was wonderful I was competing in this team style. As a team, we had to conquer a 1 mile swim, a 34 mile bike, and a 10 mile run. My sister conquered the massive 10 mile run, and did AWESOME.....! Only the second time she had run that distance ever! I competed in the 34 mile bike and met my goal of doing that distance in under 2 hours, and a friend of Megan, the wonderful Carolyn, killed the 1 mile swim! Did fabulous!
Now, everyone says, well HOW REALLY DID YOU DO? And I say back, we did fabulously. The competition in SB is tough. REALLY tough. We were very obviously surrounded by amazing top notch athletes, iron men and women, some olympians, or just those super fit peeps that are very inspiring to me. So, we hung in there and finished in the middle of the pack amongst women teams which I was proud of!
It really is so amazing to race against people like this, even to hang on to them going up a hill in Montecito, on a beautiful sunny day, (as in my case, doing the bike!) and completely blow yourself out TRYING to keep up with them, standing the entire 2 mile climb, and then being a bit "toasted" for the rest of the ride but still pulling through.
It was fun, the kids went with the flow, (which was a feat in itself! Thanks to Katie, sister Meg's great friend, babysitter on the spot extroairdinaire!!!!) and we were very happy we accomplished our goal.
Enjoy the little video....

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

A trip through generations.....

Last night I arrived home safety, sanity intact, with the two little boys in tow.  I was lucky enough to travel over 1200 miles, visiting dear friends and family, and may have visited an aquarium, eaten my way through Santa Barbara, and even competed in a triathlon :-)
Yes it was a great trip, albeit an exhausting one.
Needless to say I'm headed to a self mandated 9:00 o'clock bedtime, ( bedtime?) and loving that idea!
The trip details will wait for another day:-)
But I thought I'd leave you with the trip picture winner, (and there are lots of good ones!), of my family. 4 generations in one photo! My wonderful grandparents took the time to make the trip back down to Santa Barbara to see us just for ONE more day, the last Sunday of my trip. That coupled with a great picnic lunch made by my Mom and Dad, and we were set for a great day. We had already seen my Grandma and Grandpa earlier in the week, but I was very thankful for the extra time on a very gorgeous Santa Barbara beach day!
Awesome on many levels...
Now for some Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.........

Sunday, August 18, 2013

The fun times with Friends just keep coming!!!

We were lucky enough to have MORE friends come to our part of the woods to visit! Rowing friend Sarah and her sweet husband Jonathan and cutie pie son Owen ended their week long vacation in Northern Cal. They rented a beach house out in Trinidad and brought some supremely beautiful and warm weather with them. Talin and I joined them after my crazy Friday at work and were lucky enough to be able to spend the night in the gorgeous beach house. We cooked dinner, caught up, and the little boys enjoyed some great play time overlooking Trinidad Head and the calm lovely Pacific Ocean.  That night we enjoyed great wine and sleepily, (stayed up way too late for our tired Mama schedules...;-) shared great conversation about our little boys, old rowing friends, and the like....

We then headed out to our house, and the fun times kept coming! After an amazing pool party at the neighbors, we spent a few hours that evening down by the river playing and enjoying the little boys. Needless to say after that crazy ranch fun our beds quickly found us!
I don't have many pictures, as Sarah and Jonathan have a great camera and were the official photographers. it was a great couple of days. We had a great time with little Owen! It's so fun to reconnect with old friends after kids. You all of the sudden share this common bond, besides rowing, or college, and it makes the visits awesome!
What a dinner view! Dining in style, mac and cheese and melon...and wine for the parents :-)
Gorgeous sunset

Early morning ocean viewing

Talin enjoying the morning view with his fav 'pack pack

And, as with Sheelagh's family, I just HAD to get a little video of the two little boys having fun in a crazy way :-)

Smoked Out....

 Our home right now is absolutely NOT the most scenic epic place that we feel it is for most the year. This is primarily because it is fire season. Most years this only leads to a few smoky days or weeks of the summer from the wild fires. However, this late July and August have been pretty bad, and unfortunately we can probably expect the smoke until it rains in the Fall.
Because of a pretty big fire burning close to us, our local Willow Creek park has turned into an incident command center for fire fighters across the Western US. 
Fire fighter tents

Fires, of course, are scary! It is a huge looming fact of life every summer that we could potentially have a fire, or as in this case, multiple fires, very close to our home. Perhaps, even, threatening our home. Right now we are not in the situation of our home being threatened, yet.... Just one week ago a new fire was lit by a crazy lightning storm just over our nearest ridge. It is now 3,000 acres and not contained at all. Driving home last week I could actually see the flames on the mountain side.
But for now, it's just smoke, and a lot of it. Some mornings or afternoons you just barely notice its presence. And other days, like today, it's so thick you can barely see the hill in front of you, everything outside is covered in a layer of ash, you smell it in everything, and the spooky orange glow and burning eyes just plain wear you out. Fires of course can be good for the land, and it is the very fact that the natural land has NOT burned in decades, or more, that of course makes every fire we have all the more scary. In dry years like this year it just has that likelihood of being a very bad burn that can get out of hand, take structures, and be very unpredictable.

Lots of helicopter action for the little boys to ooo and ahhh at

 Most days of the year we probably have better air quality than most of the state of California. So I can still be thankful for that and for the fact that our home is not in any imminent danger...this too shall pass I guess... and of course we are VERY thankful for all of the fire fighters that have traveled a LONG way away from their homes to help us keep our homes safe.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

A gaggle of kids....

 This past weekend my boys and I were lucky enough to be invited to this splendorous place........
 ...with this lovely lady and her wonderful family!!! Yes the gorgeous Sheelagh and her family vacation at John's Grandparents' family cabin at Lake Almanor and it is absolutely amazing. Picture a gorgeous lake view, an endless lawn with great grass for little bare feet and toes to tromp on, complete with the quintessential hammock, tree house, tether-ball court, awesome deck, sunrise and sunset bench, dock filled with water toys, and of course the hot tub, just to cap it off. Couple that amaziness with the amazing, kid friendly cabin filled with mementos of great family times and you have yourself a great setting for fun!
Little David ready for some lake fun with his crazy hair!
Sheelagh and I try to meet up a couple times a year. My two boys are very close in age to her two boys, Jonah and David. In fact, Jonah and Forrest are just 5 days a part and share some similarities that always make their feisty meet ups fun. Talin and David and the quintessential cutie pie blondie/blue eyed two year olds and always get the smiles! These kids had a blast. Whether it was kayak and swimming fun, pirate play under the dock steps, hot tub madness, shooting star viewing, or just your run of the mill silliness these kids have it good! And so do their parents...mixing up strawberry salsa, chatting about life and mama hood, and just reminiscing about the rowing days, it was amazing!
Junior pirates searching for lost treasure under the dock steps

Enjoying the view of the pine trees.... hungry salmon feasting kiddos!!!! 6 little bodies can actually do one thing together!

T and I enjoying watermelon!

This video is just a little snipit of some of the amazing kid energy and scenery at this memorable cabin on Lake Almanor.  Endless thanks to Sheelagh and John and their wonderful grandparents for sharing their special home with us!

And now off to bed. Whew, those kids wear me out!!!

Monday, August 5, 2013

Learning about this cider thing...

Monday, Monday....

Monday is my bonus day. Usually a day off for me. I LOVE this about my schedule, and today we had a wonderful day at home. The kids were awesome. Sure there were the timeouts, chaos, and yelling, but there were also those moments of bliss, of brothers working together, playing together, enjoying each other! And enjoying each other without endless talk of bad guys, shoot guns, and the usual little boy infatuation subjects. Today Forrest taught Talin how to hold and feed his baby (stuffed) kitties, how to make a fort under the table,(in the dirt no less, but we'll take it!) and how to dance, with each taking turns giving a little show to the other brother.  I love these moments
And, as all parents know, any 'extra' tasks you happen to get done on days like these are pretty amazing. Today we did it all. Not every day is like that, but today was one of the good ones.
It involved harvesting and roasting tomatillo's, an entirely new experience for me as we've never grown them before....They are sticky! And quite yummy roasted, I must say.

It involved the usual fun strawberry picking with my favorite helpers ;-)

And, add a lot of tomatoes, cilantro, garlic, and secret ingredients(he he!) and you have three different kinds of salsa!!!!

green tomatillo, strawberry tomato, and our regular ranch special :-)

My favorite, strawberry tomato salsa. MMMMM MMMMM! I used it to top the crockpot blackberry pork chops tonight and it stole the show! A new favorite for sure :-)

We were also lucky enough to have Palos and Sean's friends up who have experience with cider making. Our apples are already going bonkers, so they made delicious work out of the first of many apple loads. Forrest and Talin loved it.

Combine all this fun harvest and food prep with the lovely afternoon on the beach, (even if I did have to work a wee bit!) and you get a PERFECT Monday. I'll take a case of my Mondays any day!

Sunday, August 4, 2013

And the Adventures just keep on coming....

So, Forrest and I had big adventure numero dos today.
Yep, did we ever. And this one involved travel by bike, car, (a really COOL car at that!), boat, and foot. It also might have involved a crash, but we all lived to tell about it.
It all started with the trip this morning to drop our truck off at the bridge down river as the goal was another float down in the kayak. We were tagging along with our neighbors who were having a family reunion and tubing with 12 + people.
But, we wern't just going to leave the truck at the down river bridge and get a ride back, no sireeeeee. We were going to RIDE back!!!!
And we did. A whopping 2.6 miles, but our first real ride on a paved rode and to get to any distance or destination. Forrest loved it and I got a helluva work out for the 18 minutes I was pedaling as Forrest is still figuring out that whole legs turning the pedals concept....
After we did our whole truck drop off-ride back to the house up steep dirt roads- dealio Alex helped me get the kayak down to the river and I hiked down to the beach with Talin so he could have a "venture" too with Dad, as this adventure stuff is big time now in our Fulton family, (evidently, from our little parrot's mouth).
Alex held down the home beach with little T boy
Pure suffering I tell ya....but really, thanks honey :-)
 While Forrest and I headed down river, quick like, to catch up with the neighbors.......

 And indeed we did, all dozen of them. Then the pace dropped off, I quit my personal race, and we floated leisurely down the river, stopping to have little beach adventures along the way.

Forrest under the Salyer Bridge

Exploring on the rocks

Watching cool guy Luke doing cool dives off the rock

Our kayak float was awesome. We swam and played and floated and all too soon on this near 100 degree but amazingly clear afternoon, (the smoke magically left for a wee bit!) we were done!

At the take out, we all huff it back up the trail with our tubes and kayaks in tow. Now comes Forrest's favorite part, where we got to ride in Luke's COOL car, just a mile up the highway back to our truck, as we were having so much fun we decided to go farther on our kayak trip than we had anticipated. Forrest LOVED Luke's car. Oh boy, did he ever.

That is one happy boy there, with neighbor Jerry beside him. To ride in the back seat of the COOLEST car ever, no carseat, with Jerry's cool river hat. Well, that face just tells it all!

What an adventure!
And, it wasn't over yet! After a movie/quiet time break, Forrest requested another bike ride....!
So off we went for a berry picking evening ride.
Did you notice that no nap was ever mentioned in this adventure story????Hence the crazy Forrest faces starting to show....;-)

Unfortunately this also led to an adventure in falling. We had our first dirt road tumble, all my fault. This is the first time in a while little brother hasn't been tagging along in the kiddie trailer, so I took F on a road we don't normally go on. It was a bit rutted out and I got caught in a divit going down hill. We fell to our left, ended up with skinned knees, (me), and Forrest with a story to tell.
war wounds
 He's now convinced we need to buy super cool soft pads to cover our knees and weiners, (hmmmmm) and is convinced his helmet has a purpose.....
Weird face number 47, bedtime is coming fast!

Worth my skinned knees I'd say! What a day. We'll both sleep well tonight!