Monday, October 29, 2012

Things on my mind

I am super motivated over many things right now - we shall see how long these last!!  We all know how that is!  Last week water polo ended for Meagan, my oldest daughter.  We currently have no extra curricular activities, but piano lessons for Madison and youth group on Sunday's for both girls.  This is my time to take advantage of this "extra" time of not running the kids and implement some things I have seen over the last few weeks on blogs, pinterest, and an online conference I attended.  I hope for more consistency on the blog with regular postings and a "system" for them, which then I hope for growth beyond family and friends (although we love you and your support!). 

Personally, I hope to add fitness for me.  I plan to add that to the blog, so you all can follow along and that will hold me accountable.  Meagan has asked to go to the gym several times a week, so she is cross training, as well as, not losing all the fitness she has gained since last March from swimming and water polo.  We tend to let her get lazy through the winter because she has worked so hard all those months, but she pays for it in the beginning of the season.  PLUS she wants to be my motivator!!  Since she cannot get in the gym without me......that forces me to go!

I also want to try some of these suggestions I see on how to spend less on groceries.  I already do a weekly menu plan and that definitely made a huge impact on our finances, but I feel I can do even more.  Some weeks I am definitely better than others, but I am quite motivated right now!  I just read a blog where a family of four spends $400 on groceries and only shops once a month!!  Now it does not look like that included paper products, which I already buy in bulk.  She said it takes her 4 hours to do the shopping between Costco, WinCo, and WalMart.  She also recommends to start out slow or it will be overwhelming.  With that said, since I already plan for a week and shop once a week, I am going to try to do two weeks at a time and see how that goes.  I would love to take a day where I shop, prep, and freeze and be done for the month!  One of the things I have liked about menu planning, which started out as a way to save money is that I don't have to think about what we are having for dinner.  I look at what I wrote down for that day and that is it.  I know I will have everything I need to make that meal. 

So, this is what has been on my mind.  I will keep you in the loop on how it all goes!  We wish all those in the way of the storm on the East Coast well.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Rick's birthday

Rick turned 40 this past Sunday
and to celebrate this big milestone I gave him many options - a weekend away just us or with the kids, a day trip, a party, or whatever he wanted.  He decided to do a day trip to San Francisco and do Alcatraz.  This has been on our bucket list for a very long time and the kids are finally old enough!  We decided that it would be more fun to ask Melissa's brother and family to join us and believe it or not with all our crazy schedules the day I picked worked for them too! 
We were all so excited to spend this day together! 
Scott and Tami were the only ones that had
who had been out to Alcatraz.

Part of the fun is riding the ferry boat over to the island. Here is Meagan, Maddie, and my youngest nephew, Noah. It was windy and chilly, but still fun!

Arriving on the island

This is definitely one of the best tours we have ever done and so worth the money!! There is an audio tour that takes you through most of the buildings and has sounds of prison and just really keeps you engaged through the tour. Even Maddie who does not love museums and Noah, who is in 2nd grade, loved this tour! You are never at one spot for very long, it really does keep you moving! You can stop and start the tour as well, that way if you want ot take more time in a certain area you can.

So inmates that actually speak about their experience are in the picture above, what a typical cell looks like, and a picture of the rec yard when in it's prime. Below is what it looks like now.

There was a door off the rec yard that they wanted to explore and we sent Meagan down the steps to see what was down there while we waited on the steps!

We all would take turns walking into a cell to see what it was like or into a solitary confinement cell, but I just love this picture of Noah
So what I didn't know was their had been an attempt to escape prior to the big escape. They managed to create something to separate the bars, but look how small the space is that they squeezed through! Just amazing!

Always a reminder to the prisoners just how close San Francisco is and at times they could even hear the noise of the city!

Below you can see the actual hole that was dug in the wall from the infamous escape and then the pipes they climbed up in between the walls. If you look you can see the hole they crawled through on this side.

We happen to hit a day where there was some civil war characters on the island and Meagan was stopped by one who "Handcuffed her on Alcatraz!"

Madison and Nicholas stayed together the majority of the day, which made it so nice for them to experience this.

Family pictures with San Francisco behind us as the backdrop

We couldn't have asked for a more perfect time on Alcatraz! The marine layer lifted as we rode the ferry out and as we turned around while on the ferry back for one last look at Alcatraz this is what we saw...

The marine layer was coming back in! It was sunny and beautiful the whole time we were out there! We then walked around pier 39, walked to Ghiradelli Square for some chocolate, and we even saw the ship where Meagan and Madison had their field trip, Age of Sail, in the 5th grade. We were hoping to walk around, but it was about to close. Maybe next time! We ended the day with dinner at Rainforest Cafe, which is always a favorite for the kids! An awesome birthday and an awesome family day!!