Friday, July 3, 2015

Is the House Done Yet? (Plus Dark Redwoods, Beautiful Bays, and Christian's Tech Museum Experience...)

Before I dive into the cool Canon shots and get into the road trip vacation log, here are 
pictures progress of the house. These were taken June 30, 2015. Because of Monsoon storm action in the distance, and saturated ground from the storm the night before, the lighting and ground was awesome for pictures.
Roof was completed done the following day. Front door still needs to be stained and embellished.
Side view looking west. Looks stark without the stone that we hope to add someday...
Overturned Porto-potty from night before. Good thing it was way...over...there....
Master bedroom seating/turret area. Love that light!
Stairs heading down...
Standing in the kitchen/turret looking at the kitchen island, pantry and living room...
Laundry Room Chandelier....LOVE!
Christian is Master doing Dad-approved cable work. The green looks a lot greener than it really is!
Looking towards Master from Kitchen...
Concrete stamping by front door!
Yes, we planned on moving into our house this week. Are we? Not yet.It's frustrating. Don't get me started. I know we are so close and this is all good, but we are at the tail end of enduring a lot of headaches and it's TIME to get into this house. 

Therefore, let's move onto pictures from the first leg of the trip. Leaving home to California to Crescent City, CA which is at the California/Oregon border. 

Wow. I sure take a lot of pictures. It's even more difficult when there are such beautiful places. Sure, there will be saturation of what I post, but let's do this chronilogically, and of course being a geography nerd, I have to include a map. This was June 18 - June 20th.

We left home on the 18th and had to take Mikelle to Sky Harbor in Phoenix to fly up to Oregon.  While Chris took Mikelle to her gate and waited for the plane to take off, Christian and I endured a very spirited (more-so than normal) in the eating area. But we discovered they had Joe's BBQ at the airport! East Valley people would know what I'm talking about. Since moving to Wickenburg, we have missed Joe's. Well, sure, it was overpriced airport prices, but we had technically began our vacation. And 90% of the time when we're on trips, we strive to eat we at local places. Joe's qualified!  Boo-ya!

Then after her plane took off, we drove west in the correct direction, but Chris had to stop at work for a little bit. Just these little moves over a general small amount of miles took way too long than we anticipated. And it was 116 in Phoenix. Gross. At Chris's work? The dash temperature read 118. I'm not kidding. Gross gross.

Driving with the sun in our faces towards LA wasn't so bad though, but that's because of a big fire in the Big Bear mountain area with plumes of smoke that muted the evil orb. As a result, it produced beautiful orange and red views. 

When we stopped in Indio (there is no star on the map below to mark that stop because after all, it's Indio) to hit a Big Lots for a few things, the air was really smoky and windy. It was still hot, but not as bad as it was back in Phoenix.

Because...well, not many places are.

We slept that night in Bakersfield (the star below the 'I' in California on the map), but suffice it to say, we arrived in Bakersfield rather late due to how long it took us to really get going out of AZ that day.

Because of this, we took advantage of sleeping and didn't check out until noon. We originally planned on going to the Tech Museum in San Jose that day (Christian especially planned on this) but with a four hour drive to San Jose, that wasn't to be.  

Therefore, we hit San Francisco a day early and went to Vallejo where our motel reservations were. It was nice checking into the motel at an earlier more humane time and having dinner and then sleeping

However, the Vallejo reservations were made assuming we had already done the Tech Museum in San Jose earlier that day. Because we didn't, we had to backtrack the next day (June 20th) down to San Jose and spend the planned 4-5 hours at the Tech Museum.

Let me tell you, Christian was so happy to be at the Tech Museum. In fact, we needed lunch when we arrived, but we knew lunch would be less than enjoyable if we made Christian wait a little more time and have lunch first. This was especially true since he had to ensure the torture of waiting an extra day for the Tech Museum. He was too excited to eat anyway, so we left him at the Tech Museum and the three of us went to lunch and then joined him shortly afterwards. I don't think he would have noticed if we came back at all!  (Disclaimer: Where we ate was walking's not like we left him there and drove off..! Not that he would have noticed if we did!)

There was one area at the museum where you get the privilege to create your own robot. He required an adult to accompany him to that area.  I'll have to find those pictures on my Ipad. A little video is there too. Check back to this posting for those updates.

As for the required adult accompaniment, I don't think they anticipated that adult supervision to fall asleep sitting on the floor against the wall while Christian worked on his robot.

But that's what happened. One would expect Chris to be the one to fall asleep like that, but nope. It was me.
DNA Book Sculpture...My favorite part of the museum! This area was about heredity, tech in science and health...

After the Tech Museum, we hit San Francisco again on the way out and crossed a foggy Golden Gate Bridge that time.
Golden Gate Bridge from South just before we crossed it... 6/20/15
But it would be dark before we could see the Redwoods heading up to Crescent City to stay that night. Therefore, let's just say it was WAY too late when we got to Crescent City. Yeah, that was an unfortunate pattern with us. Oh, we still had our room and all that was okay, but it was still way too late. It was especially too late when we didn't even get to see any Redwoods heading up. If we were late because of stopping to see the Redwoods, that would be one thing. But nope. Grrrrrrr....

Aren't they gorgeous? Yeah, I think so too. Too bad we didn't get to see this. Well, we did. They looked like this:

Our California Redwood experience....

To end this post, I'm adding the Canon San Francisco pictures. Next on the road trip pictures are more Oregon Coast pictures, including shots from my jog back and forth on the Alsea Bay Bridge. There were a lot of sea lion views from there. 

Until next time...
Golden Gate Bridge from North Vista Point, 6/19/15...I love my ultra-zoom lens!

San Francisco Bay...Alcatraz Island...6/19/15
San Francisco Bay...Alcatraz Island...6/19/15
San Francisco Bay.....6/19/15
San Francisco Bay.....6/19/15
Golden Gate Bridge from North Vista Point 6/19/15
Golden Gate Bridge from North Vista Point 6/19/15
A lot of Mom and Alexander pictures. Christian was there too as referenced with photo proof in the previous entry, but he was upset he had to wait an extra day for the Tech Museum. He was happier wandering around this area and checking things out...

...So all of these were on June 19th at the North Vista Point just north of the Golden Gate Bridge.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Green and Trees (both Family and Naturally Occuring)...

I have mixed feelings about being home from this big trip. Notice I don't say "vacation". This was a trip where we saw family and participated in different things. 

By definition, vacation means "an extended period of recreation and relaxation...especially one spent away from home or in traveling." Sure, there was some extended periods of recreation and we spent time away from home and traveled. 

But relaxation? Um...hard to really find it in there with three kids in tow. 

In fact, here is something that foreshadowed how the term "vacation" wasn't exactly going to be part of the process: 

The day before we left on this journey, I was chatting online with a client and this is what Mikelle comes in the room to tell me:

"Mom, Christian put Alexander in a suitcase and now the zipper is stuck..."

Sadly, the thought that went through my mind is "do I need to go in there?" 

But no, I didn't. The situation ratified itself in about two minutes. Turns out, one of the zippers on the two zipper suitcase got destroyed in the process to free the precious cargo. No crying, panicking or lack of oxygen occurred. Chris later wasn't pleased with the zipper's conclusion, but I told him it was better for that to be the solution to the problem instead of me having to go there and deal with it. 

Don't get me wrong. There was fun and some nice relaxing moments on this trip, such as when Chris and I took Alexander back to the beach house after everyone else was seeing "Inside Out" in Newport (Alexander in a movie theater? Yeah, we've covered that already...) and Alexander fell asleep on the way back to the beach house so the three of us crashed for a nice naptime. So yes, that was one of those "relaxing" moments.

Then there was the following day when everyone went back to Newport to check out the tide pools at Yaquina Head (I LOVE that detailed from this blog entry when Alexander and I traveled up there alone August 2011...) but this time, I had to stay behind to work on client artwork. Sure, I was working, but it still had that relaxation and vacation feel. 

This was my view from the balcony. Because of the breeze in the air, a light hoodie sweatshirt was required due to that little windchill. Perfection.
But  let's back up to when we finally arrived in Waldport on Fathers Day afternoon. Chris received a lovely traffic ticket a few hours earlier in the seaside community of Bandon (yeah, Happy Fathers Day to you too, officer!) and we stopped in Yachats (just south of Waldport) for a late lunch at the Blue Whale Diner

Because it was Fathers Day, Chris presented his Dad with this Family Tree artwork that I was officially commissioned by Chris to create. It had been done for about a month now, but I did have to keep it out of public view until the recipient was finally gifted the artwork.  However, once everyone saw it, I was able to officially post it.

Chris arranged anyone who wanted a print of the artwork to receive one during that very trip, as per a nice small and accommodating print shop in Newport. Chris's dad was to be given the original, but he doesn't really have the wall space for it. So instead, we got him a 16x20 print, and in the meantime, we'll frame the original and keep it for now.  

Anyway, here are the family pictures taken at the beach house in Waldport. Alexander was a tough sell with the pictures. When the timer light indicated that it was about to take the shot, he would look away because he's a turd.
Therefore, the strange face I am making in this second picture was to keep him interested in a boat on top of the TV so he'd look forward for the picture. So I took one for the team in an effort for him to keep looking forward. I think we also talked about a banana on the boat and a shark attacking the boat in the hopes to keep him looking that direction.
Thankfully for the goofy third picture, Megan was on the case to tickle him and make sure he was still present for the picture. Good job, Megan! In the third goofy picture, Christian's face seems to have vanished completely. But his legs are flaying about! Luckily Hana's head on a steeeek blocked a crotch shot.
I have a lot of pictures on my fancy Canon, but until I get those downloaded, here are a few more from the good ol' iPad (or Chris's iPhone or pictures taken by other family members):
6/22/15...Boys at Mo's in Newport. Alexander being aloof with pictures...again!
Breakfast! 6/23/15
More Breakfast! 6/22/15 AND 6/23/15

So cute with the three of them looking innocent and at peace.... Evening of 6/21/15...The evening we arrived.
6/21/15...I hugged the sign. Yes I did. I was honked at by some guy driving into California.
San Francisco Thursday 6/19/15
This picture below is the quintessential road trip picture. Look at Christian's face! He was much happier the following day when we went to the Tech Museum in San Jose! Yes, it would be a bit of a back track in our progression to Oregon, but we had to change our Bay Area schedule around a bit to accommodate sleep and sanity. Christian was thrilled to finally make it to the Tech Museum. It was just a day later than we originally planed, so he wasn't too thrilled that he had to wait that extra day. 

By the way, air temperature in San Francisco? 65 Degrees.
Dashboard temperature of 57 heading across the Golden Gate Bridge for a second time on 6/20/15:
Again, heartbreaking to leave. Like the Oregon Coast, San Francisco and I belong together. But sadly, life is cruel.

Anyway, this isn't the end of the vacation (I mean trip) pictures or tales of beauty and stops along the way. Like I said, I have many of pictures on the Canon to download. However, this is pretty much it for this blog entry.

We rolled back into AZ late Saturday night. On one hand, it's good to have it behind us so we can concentrate on moving to the new house and all the other things that need to be accomplished. On the other hand, there are so many more beautiful and cooler places out there that people live (as referenced from the pictures above), and yet, we're stuck where two digit temperatures in the summer are rare. The Oregon Coast rarely makes it into the 70s in the summer. Inland it can warm up, and heat waves can be frustrating, but those heatwaves don't last all summer.

However, I will say that for living in the heat, we do live in a beautiful desert. I have made that known before. Driving through the Mohave Desert to get home and passing through some communities showed me that it could be so much worse. Some of those desert areas have no beauty at all. It's like the surface of the moon. Thankfully, the Sonoran Desert offsets the heat with the beauty. However, I have said many times that I appreciate that beauty a lot more in the winter

As for the new house, we stopped there late Saturday night when we arrived in town. It was so exciting! Roof tiles done. Exterior paint and trim done. Concrete for garage driveway and front door is completed. Inside, the air conditioning is on, all fans and light fixtures are up. Yes, even the awesome laundry room chandelier! Woo Hoo! Kitchen and bathroom cabinets are in. No appliances, flooring or toilets (plumbing) yet, but we are so close. I wish I could just put superfluous clothing in all the closets now as it won't affect the flooring, but since there isn't a certificate of occupancy yet, they may get cranky about that. But oh, it would be so nice to get those little tasks done! 

More pictures from the trip AND the new house to come...