Sunday, December 30, 2007

Butterflies on the Beach

I'd been looking for an opportunity to go to Santa Cruz and see the monarch butterflies this year. The migrate to a particular eucalyptus grove there every winter and I'd never taken the kids. So, the Sunday before Christmas, Daddy and I packed the kids in the car and headed South.

It was a beautiful, sunny day, but it was cold and it hadn't really warmed up enough for the butterflies to get going when we got there...and apparently they leave around the end of December these days, when they used to stay until February. So, there weren't all that many. No long bunches of butterflies looking like dead leaves dripping off the trees. Just a bunch of orange and black butterflies fluttering around...but only a couple hours after we arrived.The kids were thrilled just to look at the chilly little butterflies that couldn't get off the ground.

Fortunately, the place is also right on the beach, so we went down to the beach for a while, where the kids were happy to play in the sun and the sand, collecting shells, making sand castles and generally running amok. I, on the other hand, wandered up and down the beach looking for interesting photos to take. I ended up with a couple of pretty cool ones. Too many to bore you with here, but here's a small sample:

After a while on the beach, we set off over the rocks to the tide pools. The tide was still going out, but there were some interesting pools already, mostly with lots of sea anemones. The kids were pretty excited to have a sea anemone "suck" on their fingers. There were a few missteps and sodden socks and shoes, but nothing quite compared to my looking over the rock ledge at the field of mussels clinging to the rocks, only to hear Daddy yell "Wave!" I had enough time to turn my back and make a feeble attempt to protect the camera. The camera survived. My clothes were a different story.

You can't tell just how drenched I was - from heels to hair - in this photo, a rare one of me with the kids. I usually spend all the time taking the photos, but I'd handed the camera over to Daddy after my little mishap.

Thankfully, I keep the ol' mommymobile in a terrible mess, which means there are almost always some spare clothes in there somewhere. I had to live with my wet jeans, but I found a new sweater and we headed back to see the butterflies, which were now flying around, before making our trek home. Unfortunately, you can't really take decent photos of butterflies flying around in the sky! All in all, a very blog-worthy day, if just for the photos!

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