Off highway 1 just outside of Santa Cruz, there is an adorable organic pick your own strawberry farm. Take it from Ly, the berries are delicious and provide an excellent snack for a drive down the coast.
Santa Cruz boasts one of the only remaining boardwalks on the west coast. It was built a long time ago and has all sorts of things - rides, boardwalk food, sand, surf, arcades and little shops. Ly and Lily were especially excited when everyone decided to spend an entire day at the boardwalk -- complete with an unlimited rides bracelet. It was the first time in their entire lives that they ever got to ride fair rides and boy was it an experience to remember.
Ly loved all the spinning rides and was so proud of herself for getting out of her comfort zone to ride rides that might seem scary. Alan enjoyed the old fashioned carousel that had a ring you grab and throw into a bin...he was the only one in the group that managed to get one in. Later in the afternoon, everyone played laser tag and pirates mini golf. The day topped off with some games in the arcade (Ly's dad smashed Ly at air hockey) and some yummy ice cream on the boardwalk.
All in all, Ly didn't have much time to take photos because she was too busy having a blast but it was certainly a day to remember and she recommends that everyone spend some time at the boardwalk when in Santa Cruz.
After Lily's graduation, everyone went to Natural Bridges so Ly could get her beach fix and Alan could attempt to throw Ly and Lily into the freezing cold water (don't worry, he didn't succeed). It was a small, quaint spot where Ly enjoyed taking photos, feeling the sand between her toes, the wind in her hair, hearing the crashing of the waves, and smelling the salty air. Ly loves the beach and misses California beaches so much. Here's hoping Alan gets into a residency program near the ocean.
The main reason Ly+Alan went to California was to see Lily graduate from UC Santa Cruz. They got up super early and saved seats for the rest of the family and sat in the sun for hours during many very interesting commencement speeches in not one, not two, but three different languages. Good thing Ly loves Lily lots. The best part, obviously, was cheering loudly for Lily as she walked across the stage to receive her "diploma". Nevertheless, Ly+Alan were glad to partake in Lily's special day and celebrate her academic achievements.
Ly can't believe her little sister is all grown up and a college graduate! What happened to the days of playing school at home complete with a timed schedule, homework assignments and scheduled lunch time? Time flies! Congrats Lil - you deserve it...can't wait to see what adventures life takes you on next!
*It was a fake diploma. Lily graduated early and her diploma was sent to her in the mail many months prior.
Recently Ly+Alan took a trip to Northern California to hang out with Ly's family and explore what Northern California has to offer. Of course they were not there for months at a time so they didn't have time to do everything. But one of the things they did do was drive on Highway 1 by the ocean. Alan had never driven on it before so it was a new experience for him. Ly had, of course, been up and down highway 1 multiple times and still got car sick from the curvy roads. This time Ly+Alan drove to Point Reyes National Seashore and stopped at Muir Beach for some fresh air and photo taking. The drive was beautiful -- California is such a gorgeous state that has it all - the ocean, mountains, trees, deserts...and sunshine. =)
Memorial Day weekend, Ly+Alan were lucky enough to have some family visit from the West Coast. Tons of fun was had by all - they hiked Shenandoah, explored Maymont Park, played games, had movie parties, and of course colored with the bath crayons. Ly especially enjoyed the fact that her nieces woke up with the sun, depriving her of her usual 9 am weekend wake up time...a fact that was only okay because they are very cute (see for yourself below). Alan, on the other hand was especially excited to have someone to toss in the air and carry around on his shoulders. They both had such a blast and can't wait to see them again in July.
Lily's friend recently had a baby so Lily asked Ly to make a baby quilt for her. Lily asked for some blue fabrics and Ly came up with this red white and aqua design. It was a lot of fun to make - the large blocks really let the fabrics shine (and made with some yummy just wing it by momo fabrics, the large blocks were a must). The backing is solid, for the most part, which really allows the quilting to shine. In fact, the back is one of Ly's favorite parts of the entire quilt.
Close up of the front after washed - so crinkly and cuddly! How fun are the aqua flowers in the bottom corner?
close up of the quilting
binding close up...folded and all ready to ship to California.
One of the reasons why posting has been so sparingly recently is because for awhile Ly+Alan didn't have a camera (trusty canon died in the Everglades). However that is no longer an excuse because Ly recently got a new camera. After much thought and deliberation, she decided to make the switch to Nikon.
And let's just say it was hands down the best decision ever. Ly is a proud owner of a Nikon D3100 and she LOVES it. Shockingly enough it is still nameless, but suggestions are welcome.
And because a post about a new camera should have pictures, here are a few taken while experimenting with manual focus:
The other night as Ly left the house for her run she stepped on a little green frog. Luckily this frog, Fred as he is now known, was a smart frog who curled up really small and didn't even get hurt. He hopped a little bit away and hung out in the bushes. When Ly came back from her run he had resumed his place on the porch. Ly really wanted to keep him but after some convincing by Alan realized that they didn't have a proper home for him so Fred now lives in the bushes by the front door.
Alan has officially finished his first year of medical school. One year down...only ten more to go.
Highlights of M1 year included:
+ making some great new friends
+ observing a lot of "awesome" (and long) surgeries
+ doing research with a plastic surgeon
+ learning a LOT about the human body
+ getting accepted into VCU's Masters of Health Administration program, thereby delaying graduation by a year
+ alan's first ever spring break
Bring on the next year!