Saturday, August 31, 2013


We are back to Minnesota, and back to real life. It has been really hot and somewhat miserable as we've been busy unpacking and running 1,000 errands.

Our California summer of fun is nothing more than wonderful memories! Keeping with our tradition of doing something different every weekend, here are the things we did in August:

Santa Cruz Boardwalk
We wanted to do this, but it wasn't quite as exciting as we thought it'd be. It was really crowded, and we used a meter to park, so we didn't have a lot of time to stand in lines. Looking back on the pictures, looks like we spent our time at the boardwalk finding places that said "Santa Cruz Boardwalk" to take pictures in front of! haha Well, and, of course, Sophia has to ride every carousel she sees.

Big Basin Redwood State Park 
I had seen the big huge Redwoods with my parents in July, but Russ didn't get to see them, so we went to see them with some of our friends in the ward. These trees were incredibly tall instead of incredibly round, but they were still pretty massive trees. The tallest tree at Big Basin was taller than the Statue of Liberty. We hiked around a little bit, and then ate picnic lunches and popsicles. As you can see, Sophia really enjoyed hers.

In the morning on our anniversary, we went to the Oakland Temple to do a session and some family name sealings. Being so close to the bay, everything was shrouded in mist. From the entrance of the parking lot, you couldn't even see the temple!

This was probably the number 1 thing of my to-do list while we were there. I was really really excited about going, but being there turned out to be a little creepy. Interesting, but creepy. After all, it was a prison with the motto of "If you break the rules, you go to prison. If you break the rules in prison, you go to Alcatraz."

We did an audio tour that had lots of clips from actual prison guards and actual prisoners and heard lots of crazy stories. It's only 1.25 miles from San Francisco, so sometimes if the wind was right, the prisoners could hear people talking and laughing. Apparently, though, the temperatures and tides in the bay made it so people couldn't just swim to freedom (plus they were under heavy guard).

We went on a beautiful clear day, and had a great view looking back at the city on our windy boat ride. Sophia was so happy about being on the boat. We rode a train to the city, and a boat to Alcatraz - what more excitement could a toddler need!?
There wasn't a great photo spot on the island, and my hair was flying all over on the boat, but before you get on the boat, they take your picture in front of a big backdrop of Alcatraz. Then they charge you like $20 to get the picture, so instead, I sneakily took a picture of our picture. Here are captions for the pictures below:
- Sophia and Russ pretending to be inmates, and I took a picture from the visitor side. As you can tell, Sophia was excited to look through a window and see mommy on the other side (or maybe she was excited to be in jail...)
- Me standing by some buildings that aren't really that obvious what they are. In fact, I'm not even sure if that is the actual prison building. The island was really like a small town with several buildings because the wardens and some guards lived there with their families. And that guard tower was actually made for a movie set, not actually used by the prison guards. 
- Sophia was not happy when we were exiting the boat
- Showing how close we were to land
- the jail cells were only 5 feet wide and (I believe) 7 feet long. 
- The picture of our "official" picture. It turned out a little blurry :(

Sophia had a big butterfuly band-aid on her head when we went to Alcatraz because two days before, she hit her head on the corner of the coffee table and had her first big, bloody wound. I was really freaked out by the blood, but Sophia was more traumatized by us holding her down to put the band-aids on.
Before we got the butterfly band-aids, I just put a normal one on it. Sophia thought it looked pretty and wanted me to have one too. :)
This is a couple hours after it happened. Overboard on the band-aids? Maybe. We were trying to close the wound up so it wouldn't scar so bad. Unfortunately, toddlers aren't super cooperative, so she can call it her my-mom-was-to-cheap-to-take-me-to-urgent-care-to-see-if-I-needed-stitches scar.
This was also at Alcatraz. Sporting just one giant band-aid this time :)
Legoland is actually in Southern California, but we drove from San Francisco to Oceanside, where one of Russ's brother's lives, and went to Legoland with them. I thought it was really cool! We didn't actually ride any rides, but there were lots of neat things made of our legos. My favorite were the mini versions of US cities, especially San Francisco and Washington DC since we recognized so many landmarks!

- Top left: Washington DC (of course)
- Top right: Sophia was fascinated with the tiny sculptures. Also, Aunt Lil got buckets of popcorn, and Sophia carried one around, wouldn't let anyone touch it, and probably ate her weight in popcorn (almost). I spotted a Taj Mahal and had to take a picture of it too.
- Bottom left: San Francisco. The middle circle picture is the tiny Fisherman's Warf sign. It was so cute!
- Bottom right: Sophia and I in front of New Orleans.

 There were also several Star Wars exhibits. They totally brought out our inner nerd. :)
- in the picture of Sophia and Princess Leia, she is reaching out to Russ and asking for her popcorn bucket :D
- The character statues were cool, and I especially loved the scenes made of out legos. The ones I included were Naboo, Hoth, and Tatooine. And the x-wing statue behind us in the one picture is the largest sculpture made of legos.
Minnesota State Fair
We didn't go to the fair last year, so decided we'd make sure to be back in time to go this year. It was a hot, HOT morning, but I'm really glad we went! I'm also glad we went this year instead of last because Sophia would have been too little to do the Little Farm Helpers - and that was my favorite part! It's geared towards kids a little older than Sophia, but basically, they got aprons and buckets and did "farm chores". She rode a tractor of hay, fed the chickens, collected eggs, planted a seed (check out her tiny garden gloves!!), picked an apple, and then went to the farmer's market. (She was also supposed to milk a cow and feed a sheep, but she was too scared of them) 
We met up with our friends from Provo, the DeWitts, who happened to be visiting this week and have a daughter just a little older than Sophia. It was great to catch up with them, and really fun to see the girls interact instead of just stare at each other like they did as infants.
After Sophia worked on the farm, we did the obligatory carousel ride, and headed over to the Miracle of Birth Barn and watched a baby pig being born! We also saw lots of other animals. For $1 you could get unlimited milk, so we did that, and Sophia tasted her first chocolate milk. She loved it and kept asking for more (or "me" as she says). 
Then we did a couple things that we just felt like we needed to do while at the Minnesota State Fair, namely: ate battered and fried cheese curds, tried battered and deep-fried recees, and, last and certainly weirdest, saw the sculptures of beauty pageant winners carved out of giant blocks of butter (that's what Sophia and I are standing in front of in the top right picture).

That was our FUN-FILLED, BUSY August. I have a feeling that after this summer, these next months are going to be quite dull. :)


Bonnie and Brian said...

WOW Adri and Russ! You're killin me! We really need to get out and DO stuff like you guys!! What great memories and fun!! Plus I'm totally jealous that you spent a summer in California- San Francisco area no less. Way to live it up!

Carson said...

Not sure why I didn't comment on this blog sooner--sorry about that.

Where to start? I've never heard of the Santa Cruz boardwalk, but it looks like a fun place. I'm also glad to see you gave the big trees of California another chance, since you didn't seem too impressed with the giant redwoods! Legoland looked really fun; I think we would have enjoyed seeing all those world landmarks made out of legos, too.

I'm sad that Sophia got an owie on her head, but think it's pretty adorable that now she insists on a bandaid as a must-have accessory!

Sophia doing farm chores at the Minn. state fair is too cute for words. Is that a corn cob she's wearing on her head when she's picking apples? How were the deep fried cheese curds and Reeces?

My only complaint about your collage pictures is that I can't get an enlarged view of the pictures when I click on the photos.