#89- Portraits

My friend, Leslie, is a phenomenally talented Photographer and Artist, who I’ve documented before [ here ] and has on numerous occasions taken our family portraits. ¬†I knew we were due for some family photos since adding one more to our traveling circus, but I wanted to wait until I was comfortable again in my own skin (read: lost all the baby weight) otherwise, knowing myself I wouldn’t be too thrilled with the final product despite how highly I thought of Leslie’s work.

Thank you, always, Leslie for doing such a great job. She makes my kids almost look like Angels… ūüėČ #89 is off my list, at least for another 3-5 years. I’m not one who needs them with every new outfit I purchase for the kids!

#85- The Russian River Valley

“I drink a lot of wine.”

After many years reading labels, and looking at wine menus and paying general attention to wine regions of the world, I noticed there are a few wines I like that are grown in the Russian River Valley. ¬†Now, not really putting it all together and looking at a map I just had always thought to myself, “Well, I camped a lot along the Russian River and I spent many summers kayaking it, too. I should go back and wine taste there.”

And that was pretty much it. I put it in my list but still didn’t bother to look up the region until I made a day trip with the Russian River Valley as my destination, and looked at it that morning before leaving. ¬†Turns out, I HAVE gone tasting there. Silly me, ¬†I should know that rivers go for hundreds of miles. ¬†With some of those miles flowing through parts of Napa/Sonoma and stops along the Wine Trail festival that I’ve taken part in a few times.

Duh.

But, not all was lost. Jess & I stopped at wineries we hadn’t tried before and purchased a few that we liked. And I managed to take one picture only…. poop.

So, #85 is done and complete. Sonoma Coast might just be the most beautiful of all of California regions.

Bohéme

Bohéme

#9- State of Jefferson

California is really, really big. And it seems unlikely to me that someone living in the most Northern parts of the state would somehow feel they identify (and have the same needs as a citizen) to someone living the most Southern part of the state. ¬†You clearly go from one extreme to the other, so the State of Jefferson doesn’t seem that far fetched of a concept to me.

But politics aside, I feel that seeing all of California is a traveling adventure in itself. One day I hope to say that I’ve seen every region of the state, just as I hope to one day see every part of the U.S. Which is why #9 (make a Northeast Cali road trip) made my list.

It’s a wasteland. Forgive me if you live there. I’m sure there are some creature comforts that you get used to if you stay awhile. But we drove straight through and up to Oregon. Honestly, it seems like there’s a lot of drugs being shared with all of the questionable trailers parked in the middle of nowhere (and going nowhere).

Here’s my picture documenting it:

Mt. Shasta

Mt. Shasta to the East

Our road trip took us in to Bend, Oregon (an oasis that seems to pop up in the middle of more wasteland) and then further up North to Portlandia. We then swung back down along the Coast to visit my grandparents in Coos Bay before cutting back over to Ashland. I pretty much loved everything from Portlandia to Ashland. Ashland, I will be back….

#11- Football!

I’ve been wanting to attend a Pro-Football game for the past forever it feels like.

I grew up in a relatively pro-49er home, but I think it was that way mostly because of proximity.  We hosted a few Super Bowl Sunday parties over my childhood, I played football with my Dad & brother for fun in our front living room, and in junior high my P.E. class held me in high regard for my ability to throw a football with great accuracy- despite being a girl. I was always the first chosen for a team when it came to flag football (first girl anyway). And in High School, we had a great football team that gave me better reasons to show up to the Friday night games and watch.

And that’s pretty much my Football history.

But, of course Social Media and moving to the Bay Area pushed my desire to actually attend a game (#11 on this year’s list, # 13 on 2012’s list) which is exactly how we closed out our 2014 this past Sunday. ¬†We clearly were good luck charms for the 49er’s, who I guess were on a losing streak and just announced they were saying good bye to Coach Harbaugh. My computer just auto-corrected his last name for me. ¬†It was also fitting to bring our newborn son, Levi, to check out the Stadium that was named in his honor ūüėČ

I have mixed opinions of our overall experience. First, the traffic getting there and in to the game was non-exsistent for us. Literally. We pulled into a Target parking lot located about 2 miles away, opened up our Uber app and ordered a driver that took us to the entrance of the Stadium for a whopping total of $6.

Second, coming up on the lower stadium seating and looking out onto the field, it was as if I was watching it all take place on my yard. Everything was so close! I almost felt like my eyes were playing tricks on me. Amazing.

Unfortunately, our seats were on the next level up. ¬†Which still had really great viewing, but after spending a few minutes walking around and taking everything in I started to feel really bitter because we passed a thousand or so people all with their special badges that got them onto the better elevators, to the better seats, into the better restaurants, using the better bathrooms. ¬†It all felt very Caste-System like. Booooo. I don’t like feeling like I’m a lower class citizen.

We tried to visit the museum, but I guess that closes during the game. We tried to check out some restaurants, but we don’t know the right people. We tried going into the souvenir store, but there was a line.

The game was great to watch, however. Blake & I like to mock anybody and everybody in our line of viewing, so that was half the entertainment. And the fact that there was some great plays and an ultimate win for our home team, made it all worth it in the end. Levi slept through it all, however, so he’ll have to do a do-over one day…

#70- Room for More

A Circle is round

It has no end

That’s how long I want to be your Friend

Yesterday, someone had suggested to me about joining another women’s group. At church the other Sunday, the topic was the importance of having a social circle (the topic went much deeper than just that but I won’t go in to it here). My response to both situations was that I was just. exhausted. And not exhausted where I want to stay in PJ’s all day and swear off bathing. But just exhausted of being pulled or pushed or nagged to do more, be more and have more. I have been, for quite some years now, completely satisfied with my life and where I’ve brought it to.

With that said, I did put on my Bucket list for 2014 to make a new friend (#70). At the start of the year, I felt like I had room for a new friend. Or, 20+ new friends.

Girls on the run

And now I’m done for awhile. Here they are, my new friends. I love them all so so sooo much. ¬†One of my other bucket list items was to start a Girls on the Run program at Pescadero Elementary. ¬†What I didn’t know in that moment was that there were three other women in Pescadero who were as passionate as I was about bringing something like this to the school. ¬†I had put out a general bulletin asking for a co-coach, and I got 3! ¬†We got to know each other pretty well, having practices twice a week for two different seasons. ¬†And to add icing to the cake, we also had to go out and find run buddies for each of the girls for their big Race Day. ¬†Which meant, this year alone I met about a dozen more fabulous Pescadero residents that I didn’t know existed.

In the picture above are just a few of the girls we coached, their run buddies, me and all 3 of my co-coaches: Sky, Deborah & Kathy. In September, shortly after I had Levi, Deborah had called me to check in and see if she could bring me a meal. When I saw her name on my home hone caller ID, my heart smiled. When we ended our conversation that day, I knew I had found a life long friend and I realized then I would be writing about these ladies and this group for this bucket list item. There is something so sincere about these people that you don’t find very often.

My heart is full.

#57- Alliance Redwoods

I’m a huge proponent of Outdoor Education. ¬†Borderline nut about it because, if given the option I’d probably opt to have my children spend their entire school day outdoors, knee-deep in nature and skip the textbooks entirely. I’ve had too many positive experiences to NOT feel this way.

I’ve read a lot of research regarding this, and how one’s emotional/spiritual health can largely be tied & correlated to how much time they have with natural experiences. Without these experiences, one often is left depressed, lost, mentally unwell. I realized that, many of my own opportunities came with attending church camp at Alliance Redwoods. I found God at Alliance Redwoods- hidden along the mountains of the Sonoma Coast- and not because of the bible thumping they were doing there. ¬†It was pure freedom in a safe space. It was hiking on trails, swimming in the streams and rivers, sleeping in a bag looking up at the stars, getting utterly lost in a redwood forest, watching the glow of firepits and hearing it all like my senses were more alive than I could ever imagine back in city limits.

Most of my weeks spent at this camp were with Gina & Jessica, my best childhood friends. The last time we were together AND at camp was well over 10 years ago.  I wanted more than anything to relive these moments, for nostalgic purposes. So, to check #57 off my list (visit Alliance Redwoods) Jessica & I made the drive the other day, and it was (almost) just as we remembered it.

We were talking about how, some days it seems like we are meant to wake up and find ourselves 10 years old again, ready to do life over. Like Time isn’t really happening and if we wished hard enough, we could be back at camp doing art at the craft shack, flirting with the boys, making calls on the payphone and doing silly cheers at the campfire circle. Right? Any morning now I’ll be back in my sleeping bag debating if I want to take that cold shower….

I’m glad the camp is still there, still thriving. I hope to send my own kids there one day.

#39- Fun Day Run Day

Natalie has often begged to join me on some of my runs, to which I have often discouraged her for several reasons. ¬†Mainly, running “is my ME time.” Also, I like to go for an hour +, something I know she’s not up for yet. ¬†When I do go for a run with her, it’s typically for just about 10-20 minutes tops. ¬†But since coaching GOTR at her school, Natalie has been much more persistent- so I decided to dedicate a few mornings of ours to coaching just her.

I originally put on the Bucket list to run a 1k with her (#39) but Seeing as she also wanted to run the 5k GOTR Race in SF with our team, I figured this would be even better! I blog some of the experience [ here ], but here’s one more photo from the middle of our race together:

IMG_5594

I am so proud of this girl’s ambition, every. single. day. ¬†Natalie has far more energy and drive then I ever remember having as a kid. ¬†She will be amazing at whatever she does!