Thanksgiving trip to CA

Pic-11222012-001  Thanksgiving Day tradition - pictures of the family at Ted Olson trail. Pic-11222012-002  This is very difficult with a good camera and sport mode. Nearly impossible with my cheap GoPhone camera. Pic-11222012-003  I love these crazies! Pic-11222012-005  All 4 in one shot!
Pic-11222012-006  Such loons! Pic-11222012-008  This is a smile - can you tell? :) Pic-11232012-001  On the ferry - on our way to CALIFORNIA day after Thanksgiving - for second Thanskgiving with mom and Richard and Doug, Mary and Isabella, and Jesus and Helena. Wow! Pic-11232012-003  Waiting at the airport for 2.5 hours - you either get there pretty early, or cut it close. We decided to get there early.
Pic-11232012-004  Somehow Sam had all these rocks in his pack. I had no idea. They made it through security ok! I am amazed! Pic-11232012-006  At LAX. Ben was skipping Gangnam-style very fast with his rolling pack, nearly taking people out. Pic-11232012-007  Waiting for Richard in da big black truck! Pic-11242012-002  First morning - reading time with Gramma!
Pic-11242012-008  I sneaked out for a jog somehow before traveling up for Isabella's christening. Here is a stable on the route - I love the smells of the cows and horses mixed with the pepper trees and eucalyptus. IMGP7832  The reception after Isabella's christening. The food was delicious (Cafe Verde in Pasadena). IMGP7833  I brought dominoes and cubes for the boys to play with, along with their cousin Claire. That kept them busy for several hours while I got to know family I haven't met before or haven't seen in a long time. IMGP7834  My mom's sister, Auntie - she is such fun! And Jessie and Annie (hidden) with Claire (hiding).
IMGP7835  There we are! IMGP7836  Starting to get gooooofy! IMGP7837  Mom with Esperanza (Cari's sister) and Uncle Pete. They are so sweet! IMGP7839  Me and Mama Cari! (Mary's mom)
IMGP7841  My brother and I - he is so handsome!!! IMGP7842 IMGP7844  Trying to get EVERYONE in! This is just before I started doing something a little silly...I might possibly have roped Doug and Mom into doing some PSY moves... Pic-11252012-001  Building dominoes at Gramma and Richard's!
Pic-11252012-002 Pic-11252012-003  This is a house for Mini Mommy! wrestling  Wrestling with mommy! I had both those boys trapped for a good long time! boa  At Casper's State Park - a friendly BOA! Whew!
Pic-11252012-004  Ben is not thrilled to be hiking in mountain lion country! I wasn't, either, but gathered all kinds of information first and decided it was ok. Pic-11252012-005  We want to plant this lemonade berry tree. Pic-11252012-006  We have missed seeing all these cacti! Pic-11252012-007  Now we're not on a nature trail, but on a separate hike - not a long one - but more remote, and where a mountain lion was spotted 6 weeks ago.
Pic-11252012-008  After looking around in 360 degrees, I took about 12 seconds to admire the cactus fruit. Then on we go - making noise and looking all around! Hard to see those critters - they blend in with the dry grasses. Pic-11252012-009  So we decided to hike Gangnam-style - that is truly scary especially when LOUD! I don't think ANYTHING would want to come see us, not even curious humans! It was pretty funny. Pic-11252012-010  I love how Ben walks like this - he is SO funny! Through the airport, market, anywhere. He just marches around so confidently, like PSY. san juan hike1  On a bizarro expedition right across the street from mom and Richard's community. Sam immediately wanted to hike up this 100' elevation hill, at probably 30% grade.
san juan hike2  Rolling rocks down...seeing how far they can go with how little effort from us. Bowling, sort-of. san juan hike3  Hoping I don't wipe out! Pic-11252012-011  We collected shells and a piece of wood. We also got a rock from Casper's. All that comes home in my duffel bag. Pic-11252012-012  Gramma likes this picture :)
Pic-11252012-015  Blurry - sorry - but out on a bike ride while Gramma gets her walk in. Turns out there was a helo chase and police on the ground trying to catch someone in the nearby creek bed. Very L.A. :) scare mt lion  This is how to scare a mountain lion! fun at home  Messing around with Mommy! fun at home2  This is how Ben likes to watch TV. We indulge in lots of relaxation while at Gramma and Richard's - we all love it there!
fun at home3  He makes me a little nervous when the fire is on. But truthfully, Ben is far more apt to fall when he's sitting. He slides right out of the big truck, out of his chair...it's so funny because he doesn't get hurt! He just disappears under the table or onto the sidewalk. Sometimes, after a moment of reflection, he decides he's either hurt a little or mad, then starts yelling/crying. Pic-11252012-016  Ben says "I'm watching a DVD about mountain lions." The soap dish was the DVD. IMGP7846  One of the landing capsules at the CA Science Center - we are on our way to see ENDEAVOR! IMGP7849
IMGP7850 IMGP7851  The bottom of the capsule - the wear pattern is off-center intentionally - it gave the capsule some lift upon reentry. IMGP7852 IMGP7853
IMGP7854  We did two simulator rides! This was a solar coaster! IMGP7856  The solar coaster ride! IMGP7858 IMGP7859  This is in the Endeavor simulator now
IMGP7860  Fixing the Hubble telescope. IMGP7862  It is really huge!!! IMGP7864 IMGP7865
IMGP7867 IMGP7868 IMGP7870 IMGP7872
IMGP7874  HUGE engines. Ben was fascinated by these. IMGP7875  Little thrusters at the front are all that's needed to help steer when out in space. IMGP7877  Ben - good gracious! IMGP7878  See the thrusters?
IMGP7879  Where USC plays football, and host of two Olympics! IMGP7880  Where the torch goes at the top. IMGP7881  Watching Hubble 3D IMAX! IMGP7884
Pic-11262012-002  Pull on this rope to lift the truck! It's all about leverage :) Pic-11262012-004 Pic-11272012-001  Out on a trail run - the hills around San Juan Capistrano have well developed horse trails - very wide and well marked. Pic-11272012-002  Up a steep hill first!
Pic-11272012-003  So nice to run and see horses! Pic-11272012-005  But then I saw this. Looked like a large cat vs dog? Pic-11272012-006 Pic-11272012-007  So I picked up some of these to carry. I looked like a loon probably, but felt safer.
Pic-11272012-008  The next series gives you an idea of the views, and the trails. I went about 4 miles - and that is just a fraction of those that are available! Pic-11272012-010 Pic-11272012-011 Pic-11272012-013  Beautiful roses along part of the path. This is by the country club section, next to the golf course.
Pic-11272012-014  Still running with these, but I'm out of the sticks and into the country club area. Now I'm thinking they'd be great decoration. Wonder what Richard will think :) Pic-11272012-015 Pic-11272012-017 Pic-11272012-018
IMGP7885  Last night in CA - at Doheny State Beach. The boys built a huge hole with Gramma! IMGP7886 Pic-11272012-019 IMGP7887  Ben loves to drink on planes. Which means he also needs to visit the restroom. In a 2 hour flight, he had to go twice. He loves his beverages, though. The second trip was really imperative...just after landing we had to fight our way to the bathroom and back with the aisle filled. urgh! Yes I could limit his beverages, but going to the bathroom gives us all something to do.
IMGP7888 IMGP7889  Spying on Sam who was sitting behind me this time. IMGP7894  Cute Benji sat with me. IMGP7895  Sam is reading about the Marquis de Lafayette.
IMGP7896 IMGP7897  Then I got a better look at the rest of his area...can you believe this???? He is writing in his journal now, recording thoughts on the trip. Ben and Eagle  Waiting to board the plane at Long Beach. Pic-11282012-002  Oh no - he's chugging! He doesn't like to throw away juice. But I know it can't go through security.
Pic-11282012-003 Pic-11282012-006  Crazies! Pic-11282012-007 Pic-11282012-009  Getting our stuff in WA - look at Sam's pack!!!
Pic-11282012-010  HUGE pack! Full of rocks, dominoes, cubes... Pic-11282012-012  More Gangnam marching :)  A great trip with two really fun guys! Poor Dave had to stay home and work, work, work. photo 2