Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Our time in Palm Springs coming to an end

We have five days left in Palm Springs so our time here is coming to an end. We have had a really wonderful time and it has been great to spend time with family and get to know them a little better. This last week has been pretty quiet, haven't done much. We took the kids to a movie this week, went to lunch at a Thai restaurant with Jenette and Jathan (everyone knows that is our favorite!!!), and did more normal day-to-day things. Sunday we went to church, Thai (again), and then took the kids to this really cool park to rollerblade. This park has sidewalks running around and through it, a pond with bridges across it, a playground, pavilions, etc. It was a very fun place to rollerblade. Yesterday we went to the Living Desert, which is pretty much a botanical garden and zoo but it all has to do with the desert. We learned a bit and saw some very interesting plants and animals.

The kids had been wondering about the Palm Trees and wanted to know which ones, if any, were native to California. We found out, at the Living Desert, that only the Fan Palms are native to California. Martin and I were thinking that none of them were but we were wrong. Now we want to do some research and find out where the other ones came from! I am saying somewhere in the middle east and Martin is saying somewhere in Africa but not necessarily the same area so........................we are going to find out.

We are taking it easy today, we may go rollerblading later but mostly just catching up on things around the motorhome. On Thursday we are going into LA. Martin and I aren't really that thrilled about it because we have both been there and we don't feel that there is anything worth going back to but the kids really want to see what it is all about. We want to save Universal Studios for Orlando so we may just go down to Venice beach or something. The weather has been fairly warm, around 75 degrees and it is supposed to be 80 the rest of this week so the beach doesn't sound too bad, definitely a lot nicer than the 62 degrees we had when they were boogie boarding in Santa Cruz and Santa Barbara.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Still here in Palm Springs

We are still in Palm Springs and will be here for another 12 days or so. We have been up to Joshua Tree to climb on rocks (Tristan enjoyed that the most), antique shopping, the date place to try date shakes (not my favorite but Martin loves them) and to learn about how dates are grown and , of course, lots of trips to the grocery store. There are 11 of us here so it is constant cooking and doing dishes, Jenette does most of the cooking and Lois has done most of the dishes. I am not sure how helpful I have been :). The men have gotten quite a bit done on the yard work, poor Jenette's house is getting tore up so hopefully that addition will go up fast! We have been attending a wonderful church here that makes us feel like we are home and makes us miss our church family in Wasilla! We have received a warm welcome though and people are always so impressed when they find out you are from Alaska, it is a great conversation starter.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Here in Desert Hot Springs (Palm Springs)

We arrived in Desert Hot Springs around 2:00 pm on Friday to even warmer weather (70-73 degrees). Can you tell I am concerned with temperature? It is such a relief to be able to spend time outside without a jacket!! Jathan invited Kevin to go snowboarding on Saturday and, of course, he accepted. They left around 5:30 am (can you believe Kevin woke up that early?). He gets along so well with adults and older kids (young adults) so it was good for him to be able to go with them. He had an absolutely wonderful time but was quite sore over the next few days. He didn't hardly leave the motorhome for two days because he was so sore. He is feeling much better today and getting out and about.

Lizz and Kirk were here for the weekend because they had a wedding to attend in San Diego area. Kirk and the rest of the guys started helping John with some of the yard and dirt work that needs to be done to get their addition started, on Saturday, while the women went shopping. Sunday we went to church and then had dinner and desert to celebrate Lizz's birthday.

It is nice to just be parked and be living a somewhat normal, day to day life. Jenette and John have two dogs that have been keeping Calista quite busy and Tristan really likes hanging out where they are doing all the "construction". Today they tore up the patio and stairs, leading up to the house, so you have to walk through a big sand pile to get to the door. They are making quite a bit of progress though!

Thursday, January 12, 2006

down the coast

We toured the Redwoods in California, unfortunately, our kids weren't as impressed as we were. I remember them from when I was a child and, apparently, I made them sound more impressive than my kids thought they really were. Now, the beaches, that is what impresses them!! I have a feeling that we are going to visit every beach that we pass!!!! When we left the Redwoods we made it as far down as Petaluma and stayed the night at a KOA there. We awoke to sunshine, which we hadn't seen in 5 weeks!! We were quite excited and energized! We crossed the Golden Gate Bridge (the kids were in awe of that) and through San Francisco to Santa Cruz. We were going to just stay overnight and spend one day at the beach but we loved it so much that we ended up staying three days. We decided that we could definitely live there if it weren't so expensive. It was only 60 degrees but our kids boogie boarded for three hours!! I think the locals thought they were OUT there! We took a day trip back up to San Francisco and walked through China Town and took a ride in the cable car. The boys bought swords and Calista bought a Kimono. They could have spent much more time there! We also spent an evening, in downtown Santa Cruz, looking at the shops. They have lots of homeless people and some very eccentric people; our favorite was a man dressed a little like a clown, all pink, who walked about 6" every 10 seconds with a cheesy grin on his face. The kids were a little creeped out but he made us laugh. The kids also gave some of their pizza to two local, YOUNG homeless boys who inhaled it. It felt good to help someone but makes a person very sad.

It was hard to leave Santa Cruz but we were also ready to get even warmer weather so we continued south to Santa Barbara. We decided to take Highway 1 down, very scary in spots and extremely curvy but we made it and it was definitely an incredibly beautiful trip down. Several miles before we hit Santa Barbara there was an area on Hwy. 1 where the elephant seals hang out on the beach and you can walk right up to them but you are on a little embankement so it is safe. It was really neat to see them that close. My aunt's twin sister Barbara, and her family live here (we are still in Santa Barbara) so we had dinner with them last night and breakfast with Barbara this morning. This is another place we could probably live but talk about EXPENSIVE!! Median house price here is around $800,000!! We spent the day at the beach today, a little warmer here at around 68 degrees. The kids boogie boarded for another 2-3 hours and then we walked up and down State St. looking at the shops. Lots of import stores, my favorite!!! We will pull out of here around 9:00 tomorrow morning and will get into Palm Springs around 12:30 or so. We will be parked there for about three weeks visiting with Martin's sister, Jenette, and helping them out a little with their remodel project. It is a few degrees warmer yet there so I am getting happier by the day!!

Friday, January 06, 2006

Another great day!!

We left Newport this morning. We were able to stay at a lovely RV Resort where individuals own their slots and it is set up much like a condo. They had an indoor pool, small arcade, and were right on the beach. We had a great time swimming and it is so peaceful being on the ocean!! It was quite windy last night so we brought the slides in, which makes it a little cramped but we survived. We headed down to the bayfront and went to the Underwater Sea, Wax Works, and Ripley's Believe it or Not; all very cheesy, touristy things but the kids thought it was all GREAT so I guess it was worth the money. I have to admit that I enjoyed the Ripley's.

We headed towards California around 4:00 pm and made it into Crescent City around 10:15 pm. We are going to tour around the Redwood Forest tomorrow morning and then head towards San Francisco. We don't expect to make it all the way tomorrow but within 100 miles or less. We are all still doing great, so far! No major bumps or anything! We are all settled fairly well and having a good time!

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

We haven't had internet as much the last week so I have some catching up to do. We had a wonderful visit, in Ferndale, with an old highschool friend of mine, Crystal (Pike) Johnson. We then moved down to Arlington to visit, a couple days, with an old highschool friend of Martins, Roger Kehler and his family. Christmas Eve landed us in Seattle and we had a lovely evening with all of my mothers first cousins and their kids and grandkids. Christmas day we spent the morning doing laundry, went to my cousins and hung out in the afternoon and then went to Cheaper By the Dozen II that evening. We definitely didn't have a traditional Christmas but, then again, nothing we are doing right now is traditional. Monday, the day after Christmas, we did the Underground Tour in Seattle. We all found it very fascinating to learn how Seattle got started and to see the shop windows a few feet below the sidewalks that you walk on downtown.

We left Seattle and headed down to Milwaukie (Portland) to visit with Martin's aunt (Lois' sister) for a couple of days. We went over to McMinnville to see the Spruce Goose (The Aviator). The air museum had a great kids learning center; I think the kids could have spent the entire day there. We then headed up to Manning where my grandparents, on my dad's side, live. They have 40 acres of forest and we had a great time walking down to the creek, playing card games, and helping out a little with some chores. While we were there we took a day trip over to Seaside and Tillamook to splash in the ocean and see how cheese is made. The kids splashed in the ocean for about and hour and I think were really close to frostbite. Of course, we forgot to bring dry clothes so we had to rush around downtown trying to find some dry clothes for them.

We are now in Corvallis visiting some fellow unschoolers that own a coffee shop here(John and Mary Gold and their two kids Casey and Conor). We have spent quite a few hours in the coffee shop tasting all their delicious coffee, food and treats. We also got to join them for the unschooling gym day so the kids got their exercise today! We had a wonderful time and if they didn't get so much darn rain here it might be on our list of places to live. We are headed to Newport in the morning!

So far, the trip is all we expected. We have had a few hiccups but that is to be expected when you are traveling in a motorhome. The kids have settled into the motorhome and claimed their "spots". Tristan has taken to sleeping on the floor so we don't even have to take the bed out at night and Calista has claimed the space under the dinette bed, her "cubby". They all seem quite happy and it looks like we are going to have a good year!