A lot has happened since I last posted. We had General Conference, both of my older children had birthday parties, we went camping to Big Sur (finally!), my daughter got baptized, and at work I had a big review for a software development that I'm leading.
A few words about each of these. First, General Conference: it was awesome.
Second, my kids' birthday parties: they were very loud.
Third, camping at Big Sur: it was a wonderful time.
Okay, okay, I'll say more than a few words ... and add far more pictures than I usually do ...
Driving up Highway 1 is the Best. Drive. Ever. I don't think we ever get sick of taking pictures along this coast. Here's one of the few pictures I took during the entire trip. My wife is sort of a camera hog (I don't really mind), so it has to be a special occasion for me to take a picture, and an even more special occasion to get it with her in the frame.
And of course the sun over the ocean is always gorgeous.
And we couldn't pass up a picture of a bird.
While camping, we took a tour of the Point Sur Lighthouse where the kids listened with rapt attention to the stories of how people lived up on the rock, hauling their stuff up the cliff face, and dealing with storms and the isolation. They loved hearing about the ships that wrecked (and the air ship that wrecked) and really enjoyed the experience. One funny thing was that the hike up the hill is about half a mile around the back of the light house, and at the top when the tour was over, my oldest son asked if there was going to be a tram to take everybody back down to the bottom. The guide about fell over at that question, but then couldn't help but laugh. Silly boy.
We also took a day and went to the Monterrey Bay Aquarium. It was totally cool, as always. With the kids being a bit older, we can move a little more quickly, which was good because we were late getting there. The kids did get a little bored at times, even with so much to see and do. It is a really neat thing to see them reading the plaques on the displays and aquariums and learning about everything. We always love standing next to the kelp forest and watching it sway back and forth.
We also love the huge tank where this time they had the only great white shark known to be in captivity. It was awesome.
My wife and I really do enjoy museums of any type (except maybe art museums) and it is nice to see that my kids, readers all, seem to enjoy them, too.
My wife is kind of crazy for jellyfish, by the way. This is only one of about six million photographs she took.
The kids didn't really enjoy hiking that much. It was "too hard" and "too hot" and "too steep", but, of course, when we reached the end of where we were going and they saw the waterfall, they were glad they had done it. However, we couldn't convince them to go on any more hikes after that.
We did spend some time at Pfeiffer beach, which is always a treat. The kids loved it, and my daughter found a way to voluntarily fall into the water, so she was soaked and cold by the time we left. They had a wonderful time climbing the rocks and playing in the sand, even though we had no swim suits and no sand toys.
But, of course, camping is all about the fire. We paid way too much to buy firewood from a grocery store (a grocery store! for wood!) and were very pleased to inherit firewood left behind by other campers, so we had a huge amount of wood to burn. The children, of course, were delighted to have "poker" sticks that they would light on fire and then wave around (yeah, we put a stop to that pretty quick ...). We had s'mores and cooked many of our meals over the fire. The campsite we were at was pretty good, too, with hot water for showers and a playground. Not exactly roughing it, but since we were there for a whole week, it was nice to have a few comforts. And the weather was great, too. Had we come the week after, we would have been drenched by a fierce rain storm that swept the state.
Oh, and we had our bicycles, too.
My daughter's baptism was awesome. We originally expected to have my parents and my brother and his wife in town for that, but it didn't work out that way (my brother's wife's father passed away). It was a little disconcerting to realize that I didn't have any priesthood holders who I knew was going to be there to be witnesses to the baptism and to stand in the confirmation circle with me, but a few well-placed calls later and some of my good friends from the ward were happy to come and join me.
My daughter was so happy to finally be baptized. It is something she's been looking forward to since her older brother was baptized two years ago. Her anxiety was compounded by the fact that she is the youngest in her primary class and thus the last to be baptized. Both of her friends from her class were at the baptism, and it was a very nice event.
Afterward, we had dinner at our place for all who wanted to join us. We had quite a few people show up, and it was a lot of fun to socialize. The kids were well-behaved and we actually had some grown up conversation. We haven't entertained in so long, I had forgotten how much I enjoy doing it. Good thing the holiday season is upon us!
In any case, now that my daughter is baptized, I am so very proud of her as she is trying her hardest to keep her covenants, to act more mature, to be more kind, and to obey more promptly (though she still is a total book-worm, particularly now that we let her read the fourth Harry Potter book ...). She is a sweet and wonderful young lady, and I am very happy to be her father.