Monday, July 28, 2014

Happy Birthday Hannah!

Today is this beautiful girl's 6th birthday!  I can't believe it!  I don't think I'm ready to send this little spit-fire to school all day!   Hannah has the most beautiful, freckled, sweet face and I love her so much!   She is a high-spirited, fun-loving, bundle of joy and we are so blessed to have her in our family!

Happy Birthday Hannah Rebecca Bowen!

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Santa Cruz - Thursday (Tide Pools, Beach & Downtown Santa Cruz)

 Our last day in Santa Cruz was another great day!

In the morning, most of our group went to find tide pools and had a great time!  I decided to stay home and catch up on laundry, start packing for our 12 hour drive home the next day and start cleaning the house.  Emily, Hailey, Diane & Rebecca stayed too.

Those that went had a great time and loved it!  (Thank you to Kirsten for ALL of these pictures).

When the group got back, we had lunch and then headed to the beach for several hours.  Thankfully, it was a beautiful day.  We saw a few dolphins swimming out in the distance and just like the other days, a sea otter would swim by every once in awhile.


Ammon rented a paddle board and was kind enough to let anyone that wanted to, try it.

This is Ethan - he had us cracking up all the time.   Here is the pretending to be dead after being hit by a wave.

The Rasmussen's brought several boogie boards that were the perfect size for the kids, so the kids spent a ton of time playing with them.




This sweet baby was covered, I mean covered, in sand, but still managed to drift off to sleep.

After the beach on Thursday, we got everyone ready again and then headed to Betty's Burgers for dinner.  The food was pretty good - but lots of cartoonish big-boobed ladies hung on the wall.   Afterwards, we drove to downtown Santa Cruz and paid $0.25 each to ride the cute trolley around.  We pretty much had the trolley to ourselves and it was fun!

After the trolley, we went into a shop and then got cookies at Pacific Cookie Company.

Kirsten & I - one of the most amazing people I've ever met and truly my hero!  I am so blessed to have such a great best friend!
Wow!  What a great time we had!  The days flew by, the kids all made the trip so much fun by getting along perfectly.   The meals were delicious.  The company was incredible.  We laughed & cried and created wonderful memories. 

We are so, so blessed to have had the experience we did in Ohio.  We made friendships that are just as close as family relationships.  My hope is that some day our children will have a chance to develop these kinds of friendships.

Thank you so much to the Johnstons & Rasmussens for such a great trip!  We hope it's the first of many, many trips in the years to come!

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Santa Cruz - Wednesday (Aldo's, Seymour Discovery Center, Beach & S'mores)

Wednesday was probably our coldest day in Santa Cruz - but we all just bundled up a little bit more.

We started the day with a Santa Cruz tradition - breakfast at Aldo's!   Aldo's is right on the pier and has delicious food (they were actually featured on Diners, Drive-in's & Dives) and it's such a gorgeous setting to sit outside and eat.  We were the only ones on the pier outside and I think everyone really liked what they got!

 Here's our whole group!
 Jon, Diane & Rebecca

 Rebecca & Kyle (you can see the fog that was there that morning)

 Kirsten & her 2 babies - McKinley & Paisley
 Emily & Brynlee
 Jared & Beth
After breakfast, we walked down the path to a lighthouse which is close by.  They have huge rocks and huge cement anchor looking things that the kids wanted to climb on (with the mothers consistent "be careful" warnings).

After the lighthouse, we went to the Seymour Discovery Center, which is a small aquarium.   The kids seemed to really like it and they had some neat things to learn.   We decided to sign up for a tour (which shows you more bones and 2 dolphins that they have - which you can't take pictures of).

 Hailey spent nearly the entire time touching the starfish.


 We left Hailey with Rebecca & Diane during the tour and she was in heaven when they discovered the puzzles they had there to do.


After that, we drove home and the kids headed to the beach.  I stayed behind to get some laundry caught up and then headed over - on my way over though, my kids were coming back - it was just too cold.  Kirsten still got some really cute pictures though!

 Hailey R - we were lucky enough to have Jake Siegle (the Cowden's good friend) bring us some wet suits to borrow - you can see how big they are on the kids, but they didn't seem to mind one bit.


That night, we had promised the kids that we could make s'mores.  It was freezing though and we just didn't feel like taking them anywhere in the cold do to them.  So, these 3 had a good attitude when we suggested that we do them over the grill in the backyard and they got everything ready (including napkins on the plates).

 Cute McKinley

The week was going by so fast!