Darling Photos of Seal Moms and Babies

 

Happy Mother’s Day! What better to share on this treasured day than some adorable seal mom and pup pairs from my favorite spot in the world, Point Lobos State Park.

This particular beach is not a seal hang-out for most of the year. However, when it comes time to birth babies, late winter/early spring, this tiny beach, completely surrounded by rock cliffs, becomes a true seal nursery. This is NOT a zoo. This is the real world, animal style.

ALL of these photos were taken by Aunt Janet, photographer extraordinaire.

This first mom and pup pair are the funniest. This little fella’ was rambunctious, robust, and ready to do some more swimmin’. Mama was trying to take a nap, and he kept sneaking off to the ocean.

DSC_1683

She’s trying to rest, but off he goes…

DSC_1684

Still going….Even for animals, some little ones are just tougher to raise than others.

DSC_1685

Bet you’ve never seen a seal run, but this Momma did. She cut him off at the pass, barking up a storm at the little rascal.      “Nope! We are NOT going back out to the ocean. You don’t know what you’re doing. You are shark food. Now get back up on that beach, lay down, drink your milk, and take a nap. Don’t you go sneakin’ out to this water again without me, you hear. Bark bark bark bark bark!!”

DSC_1679

Here she is, at the top of the photo, leading that baby back on shore. She had to keep holding him down with her little flipper.

DSC_1676

This momma had a younger, smaller pup to bring in, and she just didn’t have her job figured out yet. Poor little pup was trying so hard to beach herself, but the waves kept washing her back out to sea.

DSC_1677

Oops. There goes baby again. Mom needs to learn to get behind her.

Version 2

nursing seal baby

DSC_1682

Every few minutes, you see another momma and baby seal coming in or going out. I could have watched all day, but I had taken a few elementary school boys with me who could only enjoy it in 5 or 10 minute increments.

DSC_1670

If I were a seal, I’d hang out here too. Actually, I’m not a seal, and I still like hanging out here.

DSC_1643

Look closely to see the baby seal on the momma seal’s back.

Version 2 DSC_1675 DSC_1678 DSC_1674 DSC_1672 DSC_1667 DSC_1653 DSC_1646 DSC_1636 DSC_1635 DSC_1625 DSC_1627 DSC_1629 Version 2 DSC_1631 Version 2 DSC_1623 DSC_1616 DSC_1614 DSC_1613 DSC_1607 DSC_1609 DSC_1611 DSC_1612

 

This Mother’s Day is coming at perfect timing for me. I have felt a little down lately, mostly due to my mystery low-grade fevers. They zap my energy, and leave me feeling confused and a little hopeless.

But Mother’s Day reminds me of my most basic and happiest job. I am first and foremost a mom, and I am tickled pink to be Mom to our four precious sons. I always considered myself a “girly-girl”, so it’s ironic to me that I am now the mom with the baseball nails, trying to learn basketball lingo, and passing rules about not bringing slugs into the house. When I brush everything else aside, every other worry, every other commitment or hobby, this is the job that I most cherish: being wife and mom. I was never so happy as I am when I’m being mom.

-Wiping noses

-Trying to convince JD to poop on the potty.

-Reading These First Four Years to Joshua and Caleb

-Reading Green Eggs and Ham to Daniel and Caleb

-rocking JD in the rocking chair

-pushing them in the swings

-cooking their dinner

-buying their clothes

-hugs and kisses

-talking through their problems

-teaching them about Jesus and praying with them

-watching them play baseball

Oh, I love it all so much. What a wonderful gift to be entrusted with. I hope I can walk worthy of this calling.

DSC_0058

And I’m thankful I don’t have to go it alone, like the seal mommas.

DSC_0090

This guy makes being a mom more doable and more fun. I could not do this without Alan.

Mother’s Day is a reminder for me this year. It’s a reminder of how blessed I am. Healthy or not, I have a glorious life, full of purpose and every good thing. I must remember to be thankful and always share with others what I have. I am renewed with joy. What a blessing.

 

I better get to sleep. Alan and Caleb are making me french toast in the morning, and I’m super excited. I say Alan and Caleb, but they will probably all insist on helping.

Happy Mother’s Day, y’all!

A Day at Sea with the Dolphins and the Whales

a day at sea

JD didn’t get to go on the whale tour with us because you have to be at least 5 to do that, but he sure enjoyed his salad and bread at Abalonetti Restaurant on Fisherman’s Wharf in Monterey.

We’re having Field Trip Week at Pacific Christian School. See, Alan is out on Fall break, so the timing is perfect for maximum family fun.

First, let me tell you about Abalonetti! This place has an exciting local’s menu, food that every single one of my children like (as in yes, they have pizza), and delicious sea food.

I’m the kind of person that picks a favorite restaurant and then stops going to all other places. I have now picked my place. Every time I get to eat out in Monterey, this is where I will be.

But you didn’t come here to read about where to find the best calamari, so let me show you what else we’ve found.

a day at sea

ginormous sea lions napping on the wharf

We had the sweetest family evening. After eating at Abalonetti, we walked around the wharf gawking at seals and sea lions. John David was so delighted with it all, I didn’t think we’d get him home without a struggle. However, we managed to just stand around and soak it in long enough to satisfy even J.D.

A Day at Sea

Seals

It is a pet peeve of mine for people to call seals “sea lions,” and vice versa, so let’s review:

The plain brown ones with long flippers and ear flaps are sea lions.

The multi-colored (mostly gray) ones with short flippers and no ear flaps are harbor seals.

Now that we have that settled, I have so much more to show you!

a day at sea

soaking in the atmosphere

a day at sea

Seal buddies

JD was so cute about it. One seal popped up, and he pointed and said, “Mama”, then he pointed at the next one and said, “Daddy”, and then the next one, “Baby.”

IMG_0373

 

Now onto our day at sea! This was a different day, and we left the two small boys with Nonna.

 

a day at sea

humpback whale tail

Monterey Bay is eaten up with humpback whales right now. I’ve never seen so many in one place. Everywhere we would turn around, we’d seen another couple of whales either nearby or in the distance. We probably saw 20 different humpbacks.

IMG_0115

We all thoroughly enjoyed it.

We boarded in Monterey, but then we had to ride the boat 45 minutes (ish) to the water off Moss Landing, where all the whales are.

a day at sea

Just glorious, rippling water

IMG_0130

This was the highlight of my day.

There was a mega-pod of long-beaked common dolphins out in force, and watching them made my day. I have never seen so many dolphins at one time, literally over 100.

 A Day at Sea

Long Beaked Common Dolphins

 

a day at sea

It seemed like all of the whales that we saw were in groups of 2 or 3.

a day at sea

This photo does no justice to the enormous size of this whale. In person, it was five times the size it appears in this photo.

IMG_2803 IMG_2813 IMG_0121 IMG_0123 IMG_0152 IMG_0164 IMG_0165 IMG_0169 IMG_0174

Good-bye dear Pacific!! In the spring, Daniel will turn five, and we will be back out there for another ride.

 

IMG_0332

by Daniel

 

 

 

 

Messy is the New Beautiful Photoblog

This is beauty to me:

IMG_0099

My ER kid. I love that he is so active that he can’t keep himself out of trouble.

I’m not saying that I’m happy my son broke his arm, but you have to admire his all-in-spirit.

It reminds me of that quote from Finding Nemo:

Dori tells Marlin, the helicopter dad, “Well, you don’t want nothing to EVER happen to him, because then nothing would EVER happen to him.”

Photo on 8-16-15 at 3.05 PM #2

Simple joys. Beauty inspires happiness.

Never underestimate the power of beauty.

IMG_0102

Togetherness

IMG_0106

Kitchen Picnic (and hands colored with markers)

IMG_0109

We were so excited when we found out he only has to have a short cast this time, and only for 3 weeks!!!!

IMG_0110

Dan’s new buddy kept shooting him with Nerf bullets, so I helped him load up his own Nerf gun and sent him back out there.

IMG_2580

Our free-spirited JD REALLY hates wearing shoes.

IMG_0162

Granddaddy and Nana mailed the boys new Legos. It was the biggest deal ever.

IMG_0166

This Spiderman mask has been hanging on this picture for at least a week now. I was walking past it and just found it amusing. Looks like the work of Caleb.

IMG_0167

Joshua hiding in my messy school closet and playing video games. If you had three brothers, you’d hide too.

IMG_2582

Every morning. Beautiful mess.

IMG_0177

Just cuteness.

IMG_0178

Dressing them alike was easy. Getting a great photo, not so fast.

IMG_2603

His arm is broken, but he can still ride his bike and dribble his basketball.

Dad and kid hike day

Alan and a few other dads took their kids on a hike.

IMG_0182

Step 1 in planning my new schedule: listing all the things I want to do everyday. It’s completely unrealistic, but this is my 1st draft. I’d like to schedule in more prayer and walk time. Don’t worry. The boys do more school work than is listed here. This is only the parts that I have to do WITH them. This is my part alone.

IMG_0183

“I want Nana to see my new book bag. Can you see it?”

IMG_2608

Most exciting beach day ever! Gutsy whale to come that close to shore!

IMG_0195

humpback whale—Look how close!!!

IMG_0212

He just kept swimming back and forth and back and forth.

IMG_2630

He started yelling, “Beach!! Beach!!!” as we neared the ocean. Cloud 9!

IMG_2651

We couldn’t find little plastic shovels and buckets in the house, so we brought a pot and a real shovel. Done. The kids were quite happy.

IMG_2637

Ok. We did find the one little blue plastic shovel.

IMG_2617 IMG_0210 IMG_2639

Beauty!

“Joy is a net of love by which you can catch souls. A joyful heart is the inevitable result of a heart burning with love.”   —Mother Teresa

 

 

 

 

1 2