Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Gackle, North Dakota

We just got home from spending a wonderfully relaxing week in North Dakota.  As you may or may not know, Jason's dad is a bee keeper, he owns Miller Honey Farms.  It has been in Jason's family for 5 generations.  Jason's dad is planning for his future retirement, and so we have a decision to make as to whether or not Jason wants to continue in the family business.  Jason loves Apple and we love our life here, but there is definitely some appeal to owning your own business and raising children in a more rural setting.  The bee business is operated in Newcastle, CA from Oct-Nov through May.  During the summer the bees are loaded on semi-trucks and taken to Gackle, North Dakota.  This means that while growing up Jason spent his summers in North Dakota, which he loved. And if Jason decides to work in the bees, we too would spend our summers in North Dakota.  Hence the decision to spend a week checking things out.  The week was great, but no conclusions have been drawn yet.  It is so hard making life decisions.  

Ollie having his breakfast, he is looking so grown up these days.

The park in Gackle was a big hit with Ollie.  It had baby swings and this really fun slide.  It was pretty steep so at first he needed help but by the end he was climbing up pretty much by himself. 

Almost to the top.

Woo hoo I made it!!

It was a pretty steep slide, so he loved it.  Someone had to catch him at the bottom otherwise he would go flying off at the end.

On Tuesday, Jason had the brilliant idea to head into Jamestown (the "big" town about 40 miles away).  It had been threatening to storm so I asked him if he really wanted to go, he told me we would be driving away from the storm.  Haha.  We actually drove straight into the heart of the storm.  Thunder, lightning and rain like I have never seen (all while we were driving).  It was really cool/terrifying.  
You may be wondering why I would post such a disgusting picture of myself on the blog, but I wanted to show how I looked after running from the car (which was just outside the store doors) into the store, I was completely soaked.

While we were killing time in Walmart, there was a tornado warning and we were all sent to one area of the store.  Luckily it was near the toy section so we were able to keep Ollie entertained.  I kept telling Jason "I am not dying in a Walmart".  It only lasted 15 minutes or so before we were free to continue our shopping.

Have you ever wondered where the worlds largest buffalo is?  Well wonder no more, it is in Jamestown, North Dakota.  And we went and visited it. 

I love this pic, Ollie staring the buffalo in the face.

We didn't have time to go through the museum (bummer) but we did make a stop to the gift shop to get Ollie a stuffed buffalo.  He wanted the one he is riding, but he only got the little one in his arms.

That night we ate at one of Gackle's three places to eat in town.  The cafe, I can't remember the official name I think it is Dee's Cafe and Pizzeria.  I asked Ollie if I could take a picture of him and he put his finger in front of the camera and said "finger".  I guess he wanted a picture of his finger.

One night we went out to visit the Mayers.  They were Jason's neighbor during the summers when he lived in ND.  They now live a few miles out of town and farm wheat and soybeans.  They had every piece of farming equipment you could imagine, Ollie was in heaven.

These tractors were HUGE.  

A new grain bin.

Many thanks to the Mayers, it was so fun walk around their farm and let Ollie sit in all their tractors and trucks.

Back at the park in Gackle.

We took Ollie to get his first haircut at an actual shop, I usually do it.  He did great.  He was very serious.

Again with the finger picture.

All done!

We took him to get an ice cream cone after his haircut.  

Mmmmm.   He looks a lot like Jason here.

The evening before we left we went around a took pictures of some of the different sites of Gackle.

Here is the Coop.  They have gas, equipment, some food etc.  It is the closest thing to a grocery store left in Gackle.

Ollie with his grandpa's truck.  About half the trucks in Gackle say "Miller Honey Farms" and every time he would say "Papa truck".

The road coming into Gackle, it is so pretty and peaceful.

Ollie on a bale of hay.

The Salon where Ollie and Grandpa had their hair cut.

Jason's dad bought the old grocery store on main street and turned it into Miller Honey's - False Hope Gym, such an appropriate name. It is open 24/7 with no membership fee, just walk in and work out, where else can you do that?

I love libraries so of course we visited Gackles.  It was tough to find a time to go, as you can see the hours are very limited, but I guess you can just call the town librarian and she will come over any time.

The library is about as large as the master bedroom in an average home.

The tastee-freez is probably my favorite place in Gackle.  We went there every night for ice cream.  They also make this Knoephla soup that is so delicious. If that name sounds familiar it is from John Mellencamp's, "Jack and Diane" song: "Suckin' on a chili dog outside the Tastee-Freez"

Another highlight for Ollie was the "red demon".  This little scooter was perfect to ride around town.  Ollie got to stand on it and be driven around.  I'm pretty sure he learned some bad habits in Gackle, cause we could NEVER do that here.

On our way out of town we took some pictures.
The whole fam (us with Jason's parents) in front of Miller Honey Farms.

The older sign in front.

I thought this was kind of cool because you can see all the bees. It is a hive scale that they use to weigh the amount of honey being produced in the hive.

Ollie did great on all our flights.  I'm not going to lie, I was a little worried.  On most of our flights there were extra seats so he didn't have to sit on our laps, which was so nice.  Here he is after his nap watching "The Incredibles" on Jason's laptop.

Ollie holding one of our humongous zucchini's.  Our neighbor took care of our garden beautifully and we had lots to harvest when we got back.  He kept saying "heavy" while he was holding it.

The goods.  By the way, don't let your vegetables get so big, we had to scoop out the mushy middle of the zucchini and only use the outside.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Children's Discovery Museum

A couple of weeks ago Ollie and I met up with our friends Amanda and Loden for an afternoon at the Children's Discovery Museum in downtown San Jose.  Whenever we go downtown we like to take the light rail.  Ollie loves riding the "train" and it is fun to me to talk it up and get him really excited.  The museum was really fun for the kids, there were lots of things for them to do that were exactly age appropriate.  We will definitely head back again sometime.

We started the day with Jamba Juice.  I love watching Ollie drink from his own little cup.

Here we are at the light rail station.

Driving the firetruck.

Checking out the ambulance.

Notice the change of clothes below, I didn't get any pictures but the museum had a pretty cool water feature that Ollie and Loden loved and they got completely soaked.  Luckily Amanda read about this feature and we brought a change of clothes for the kids. 

Ollie loves pushing the street crossing button, and this one was exactly his size.

I had to take this picture of Ollie for Jason in front of the fake little RV.
I wish I had taken a picture of the kids together.  They play together so well and are so cute with each other.

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

4th of July

We had a really fun 4th of July weekend.  Normally we go home and spend the 4th with our families, but they are all out of town so we hung around here, and it was so nice.  We started the weekend off Friday with dinner in Los Gatos and meeting Andy and Marissa for a little time at the Apple store and frozen yogurt...yum.  Saturday morning our church had a little 4th of July program and breakfast.  We have never been able to go so we were excited.  We then went to Jason's favorite store, Sports Basement (a discounted REI) to test out some double strollers.  From there it was to the farmers market, I love farmers markets.  After that it was naps and grocery shopping and a relaxing evening at home, well relaxing for me, Jason did a million projects.  Sunday we went to church and then BBQ'd with John and Carolyn.  Ollie and Alexander had tons of fun, as always.  That evening we headed to Mountain View to watch the fireworks at the Shoreline Amphitheater.  The San Francisco symphony does a show there with fireworks.  We went to the show our first year here, and it was fun, but this time we decided to sit outside and just watch the fireworks.  We found a nice little park and enjoyed the show from there.  Traffic leaving the show was horrific, so we made some notes for next year.  Monday we started to head to the beach in Santa Cruz, but the friends we were meeting up with called to let us know it was a chilly 58 degrees with wind and fog, gotta love Northern CA beaches.  We headed back and spent a wonderful afternoon swimming with Paul and Amy.  It seriously felt so good to me, I could have stayed in the water ALL DAY.  That night Ben and Carlie smoked some delicious ribs, and Ollie played with his best friend Evie.  It was such a wonderful weekend to spend as a family and with friends.  We head to North Dakota soon, so I'm sure we will have many wild and crazy adventures in the "Forgotten State" to blog about next time. 

 Ollie eating peas from the garden.

 Thursday night we were outside with the neighbors and this guy with a little ice cream cart came by.  Jason was SO excited to get Ollie his first ice cream from the ice cream man.
 Ollie obviously enjoyed his push up pop.  I think Jason regretted his decision when he saw the mess Ollie made with it. 

 We also went on a few family bike rides this weekend.  I'm sure it is pretty entertaining for people to watch me try to ride my bike with my huge belly pretty much sitting on my legs.  But it felt good to get out and Ollie loves it.  Including wearing his "hat".

 Wearing daddy's do-rag (?)

 We moved Ollie to a toddler bed, and this is how we found him about an hour into the first night.  The past two nights he has managed to stay on the bed all through the night, so we are making progress.

 Ollie and Alexander playing in the water.

 Me and Carolyn.

 Ollie sporting his new reusable swim diaper.  He was having lots of fun until he tripped and fell completely in the water, it was really funny/sad.

 The fam, getting ready to watch the fireworks.  

 "Dad, why does she always have that camera pointed at me?"

 "Ok, I'll give her a little smile, for her efforts."

 We tried to really prepare Ollie for the fireworks, since last year he was a little weary.  We kept telling him they would be really loud with lots of bangs.  I think he was sufficiently prepared, and he really enjoyed the show.  Although it was way past his bed time and he was getting pretty sleepy by the end.  Right after they finished he turned onto his side on the blanket and promptly went to sleep.

 I thought this was funny.  On Sunday Jason asked me, "If I make you an exotic fruit medley will you eat it?" "Sure", was my answer, partly because I love fruit and partly because I was interested to see what an "exotic fruit medley" looked like.  Well folks, there you have it.  I guess the mango made it exotic???  It was very delicious. 

We hope everyone had a fun 4th of July.  I must say I was pretty emotional all weekend, I don't know if it is the pregnancy or just the fact that I love this country and am so grateful to have been born here (probably a combination).  I am aware of the sacrifices many have made and continue to make to enable us to live in this free country and I am so grateful.