We have had a very busy couple of weeks, which have included some wonderful blessings! Two weeks ago, Paul was away for an IT conference for work for 5 days! We greatly missed him, but kept ourselves busy here at home. One of those days included a trip to the Long Beach Aquarium which always makes for a fun day. We also spent a good part of that week getting ready for a fun weekend once Daddy returned. We were graciously invited to visit a ranch up in Lompoc, which is about 2.5 hours from us in the middle of nowhere! A very distant relative owns it and though we had never met personally, Kristin’s aunt and uncle in Huntington Beach were better connected and communication began about coming for a visit. Our family, along with Uncle Pete and Aunt Jodie were supposed to all go to the ranch together for the weekend, but about a week prior to this weekend trip, Uncle Pete had an emergency double bypass open heart surgery! Clearly that meant plans needed to change! We are all SO thankful that the heart issues were discovered and able to be addressed in a controlled environment rather than through a heart-attack! So though we missed having them along with us, we are thankful to the Lord for His sovereign care and protection of Uncle Pete so that we can do the trip again with everyone included at a future time. Since we had set the weekend aside, we decided to go ahead with the plan. We went up on a Friday afternoon and stayed until Sunday in a rustic cabin located amid the 1000 acres of land!! We were so thankful for the opportunity to meet Dave and to enjoy the beauty of space and God’s creation! Here are the photos from these past two weeks…there are a lot!!
This was one of the most active octopi that I’ve seen! SO amazing to watch!
Check out those King Crabs!
There is an aviary at the aquarium. A woman graciously handed us some nectar that she didn’t want, but the birds certainly did when we had it!
There were hundreds of these birds flying around among us, landing wherever they pleased!
Hey, I just touched a shark!! They were only baby ones, but a shark nonetheless!
SChecking out the penguins…
Checking out the penguin up close!
This emperor penguin was almost the exact same height as Zachary!
The kids loved the areas where they could reach in and touch things! Here they are enjoying the stingray pool.
We were at the big tank in time for feeding time. After a little talk, the divers interacted with the kids through the glass!
This was such a precious card that I had to take a picture (as well as tuck it away!). We completed her last day of kindergarten work recently. Completely on her own initiative, after we finished her morning school work, she spent time that afternoon creating this card for me. I had recently had the kids write thank-you cards to their tutors for CC at the end of the year, which for Bethany, translated to needing to do the same for her teacher at the end of the year! I can’t even tell you how much this warmed my heart—not even so much the card (though I LOVE IT!!) as the fact that she thought to do it on her own, from her heart! She was a joy to teach and it is hard to believe she is now going to be a 1st grader! Why does that seem so old compared to Kindergarten?!
Just a quick picture of Lauren helping with chores by sorting the silverware! She loves this job..may it continue!
Upon arriving at the ranch, Dave took us on a mini-jeep ride to show us around! It was pretty amazing!
Oh, look…one of the 90ish cows that they own has met us on the path!
Here are more of the cows grazing!
Check out this amazing view from on top of the mountain ridge! It was beautiful!
There are the vineyards that are on their property, and the specks of white on the hillside behind it are their goats.
This tire swing was in the yard area outside the cabin.
This was a VERY common sight…Bethany playing with the 2 dogs and 2 cats that were at the ranch. They were all such good-natured animals, and it’s a good thing because they got some serious loving while we were there!
I love this picture! A little half-pint running free in the spaciousness that surrounded us!
Here is another swing—a rope swing—near the cabin. It got a lot of use while we were there!
The building in the far back is the cabin where we stayed. The one in the front is a small bunk house.
This was what Dave drove us around on through his property.
This dog was amazingly gentle! Brianna came and laid next to him on the first evening we were there and every time she did, he would extend his paw out to touch her and just leave it there. So cute!
Breakfast pancakes on Saturday morning!
More kids running free! Love it! They are headed to the amazing tree house tucked away in those trees!
Here is the treehouse, with 2 sets of bunk beds in it even!
We walked to see the vineyards a bit more close up on Saturday.
Pausing on the cabin porch for a little drink!
There were 5 horses on the ranch. We got to cut up and feed one of them some apples!
I love this picture!
These pictures make us laugh! We were given permission to visit the goats in their fenced area. Thinking we would pet them like at a petting zoo, we were in for a bit of a surprise! These goats wanted nothing to do with us! There were almost as many baby goats as adults, so we started trying to corner the babies to try to catch one. It took quite some time….
…but Daddy succeeded! This goat hated every minute of this experience! He cried so loud and it sounded just like a real baby crying!
The kids are all laughing at how loud and pathetic this goat sounded!
We were very gentle and only restrained him for a couple of minutes before releasing him! And that ended our time in the goat pen!
On Saturday afternoon, Dave came back to the ranch to check on us and graciously allowed the girls to have a brief ride on his horse.
Later that afternoon, we went on a hike to the top of a nearby ridge. It wasn’t a very well-worn path but we made it!
A family photo at the top!
And a picture with my honey!
Whoa! Daddy had more than enough cargo here! It was really hot so the kids wore shorts, but then there were some pretty bad thistles that caused much grief to the kids! Daddy was providing some relief!
A beautiful view of the vineyards!
This amazing fireplace was part of the back patio off the cabin. It was fun to do some glorified camping with the kids!
A cereal breakfast on Sunday morning!
Daddy using the patio table to chop some watermelon for all of us.
Here are a few inside photos of the cabin. The ladder led to a carpeted loft area where the kids slept (or tried to sleep!). It was a fun spot for them…perhaps too fun!
We are SO grateful to Dave and his crew for sharing such a wonderful place with our family! We had a wonderful time and look forward to doing it again sometime, hopefully with Pete and Jodie next time!
Our drive home brings us right along the coast so we had to stop to enjoy the ocean! It was a very hot day, and though we didn’t pack for the beach, it was a fun/brief visit!
We had a very unconventional Mother’s Day since we were at the ranch until lunch and then headed home (to do piles of laundry…that’s what Mother’s do, right?!). And though this isn’t a great picture, I’m thankful for the opportunity to be the mommy of these precious little ones! Later at home, they each gave me a card that were so special.
This past week, we wrapped up our last tennis lesson for the girls. Lauren has been a faithful ball retriever for these 8 weeks!
The girls really enjoyed learning some tennis basics. Now they really need some time to practice what they have learned.
Some of Paul’s student workers, whose family lives very close to us, invited us to their home to pick some produce! It was so kind of them to think of us and let the kids in on the action. They had peaches, nectarines and mulberries ripe for picking, and they even sent us home with a big bucket of some.
Whew! What a lot of photos! I’m tired after posting them so I’m sure you are too! Thanks for looking! Have a great week!