Monday, August 29, 2011

Truckee Weekend

We have mastered the art of vacationing this summer. I think everyone at our church thinks we have quit entirely; we have been gone so much this summer. I think I was here a total of 4 Sundays this whole summer. We just know how to play. We went straight from our Monterey week to a weekend in Truckee with 3 other families. 
The night that John and I were in charge of dessert, we made s'mores with the Rossi's traveling fire pit (Don't you think the Pioneers would be jealous?)
 Another family shot. See? I wasn't kidding about making a real effort here. I need options when someone asks for a family shot, dang it.
 The kids all loved roasting their own marshmallows.
 And only some of them caught on fire. Strike that. Quite a few did. But because I'm a total square, I made the kids eat their burnt marshmallows. Dude, we only brought one bag for 24 of us. Sheesh. Besides, kids hardly have any taste buds anyway.
 But the dream of it all was that we brought multiple kinds of candy to put on the s'mores. Sure, we had the Hershey's chocolate, but we also brought Reese's Peanut Butter Cups (my fav), and Junior Mints (John and E's favs). Dream come true. Although, I do have to say that with the thickness of the Reeses Cup, it really works better if you let the cup melt a little before consuming. It takes a whole lot of willpower, but if I can manage for a few minutes, ANYone can!
 The house we stayed at was my former boss's boss, the head honcho at my old work and it was supremely nice! I think they just finished building it this year. In fact, they just finished the plumbing in the bathroom downstairs the morning of the day that we got there. We were so lucky to be there!
 We rotated breakfast, dinner, and dessert, and I think it ended up working out just fabulously! Sure the fridge was crowded, but I think it would have been worse had we all been preparing our food separately!
 Lincoln decided he was not a fan of his high chair anymore this trip. Maybe all 15 of those other kids running around got him thinking, "why am I the idiot strapped in this chair?" and he certainly revolted.
 Overall, the kids got along fairly well. I think with that many kids and that kind of chaos all day long, the kids are certainly going to get overwhelmed. But they stayed cute for most of the weekend.
 We had two trips to the beach over the long weekend, and the second beach, Sand Harbor ended up being our favorite.
 Just look at this view! And those rocks across the way provided some excellent entertainment for people from our group to swim over and jump off.
 We spent most of the time just digging in the sand and swimming in the chilly water.
 My boys are smiling anytime they are dirty.
 Another trip we took was a little hike down into Emerald Bay. Yes, it is a little hike as in duration (only 1 mile), but as far as difficulty, and difficulty for a 6-month prego lady, it was quite the treacherous terrain. That hill was wicked steep. Up at the top of the hill (To clarify -- you start at the top, hike down, then hike back up), they had some fantastic rocks that Ethan loved to climb to his hearts content and jump off.
 I love that his eyes are completely clamped shut in this picture.
 Lincoln even got his climb on. Good thing we brought the Keens. Those shoes stick to everything.
 We waited up at the top for the rest of the folks to get ready to hike down, so we spent some time taking pictures.
 We did eventually reach the bottom though and got to enjoy some fabulous views along the way.
We even stopped to each some lunch and listen to the beginning of the tour guides' schpiel. 
Then we went on a little side hike until we realized that we couldn't climb up the steps with our stroller. So we had another little photo shoot while we waited.
 And thank goodness we got a family shot too!
 Then we hiked our way back to the stop taking FREQUENT breaks! It was so steep we made Ethan get out and help push too. Character building is our top priority around here, people!
 A view on the way up. If you look very closely you can see the little stone castle built out on the rock for tea parties.
 Looks like we might have made Lincoln stay in the stroller a little too much today. Just look how happy he is to be running around.
 Back at the cabin we enjoyed some relaxing time in the hammock. What, Ethan, are you not relaxed? 
 And of course, took some group shots in front of the cabin.
 Including some girl shots. (Ahem, I may or may not have just pinched April's behind in this photo, yep, April, IT WAS ME!)
 But before we had to leave, Ethan spent some time jumping out some energy.
Definitely a weekend well spent with friends. Thank you Jacobs, Rossis and Dolls! and Thank you Hogans for letting us use the castle!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Crawford Beach House Week!

It has been who knows how many years, and John and I have never, NEVER, spent an entire week at my Parent's beach house. I guess with it being so close, we definitely take advantage of the weekends almost every time, but taking time off during the week has never happened. Of course, this would coincide with car weekend in Monterey!
First stop on our list: The Concours d' Elegance along Ocean Ave in Carmel. Ethan thought the cars were far too noisy. He believes the same thing of fireworks, but at least he didn't close his eyes for these beauties.
 Each of the boys were actually quite attentive and ended up being darling little angels throughout the entire event. What? Why are you laughing. They REALLY were this time!
 They watched intently while each of the cars came down the road. Ethan got very excited for the cars with numbers on them.
 See? No fits here. I think I will forever be surrounded by car lovers. If my 16-month old can sit through a car parade, I think I'm toast.
 These Mercedes 300's seem to be the hit this year, they seemed to be everywhere. They had the sweet wing doors -- think the Delorean from Back to the Future.
 Wait, wait, wait! Did you think I was really going to post the 100-thousand pictures I have of all the cars? No, I promise. This isn't John's blog or Ethan's or Lincoln's, so there will be exactly one car photo that does not include people it. Pinky promise.
The boys (all three) got a kick out of this retro firetruck.
 We had at least 5 people stop us and ask to take our picture throughout the weekend. They were simply in love with our stroller and gave us lots of stories of how they were buying their daughter one immediately. Should I be worried about complete strangers taking pictures of my children? No joke, I did have one random lady just take a picture of Lincoln. No stroller story, just a nice, close-up picture of my child. I made sure I held onto him very tightly after that. And I ran away from her.
 These two gents are totally famous. What, you don't know them? One is the owner of Haggerty car insurance, the people that insure classic cars and the other is Wayne Carini, a TV show host for "Chasing Classic Cars." It was actually pretty sweet. They are filming these two talk about the car they are looking at, and Ethan strolls straight up to Wayne and says, "Hey, my daddy watches you on the TV!" Nice. Thankfully, they started laughing and not rolling their eyes or something. They were actually totally nice about the whole thing, and no I wasn't the one letting my child run into the camera shot. Wayne later shook John's hand too and talked to him for a few minutes.
 After two back-to-back car shows, our friends came down for the weekend to stay at the beach house with us. We decided the first stop should undoubtedly be the Dennis the Menace Park. And I also found out that going to the park just before dinnertime is the perfect time to go! There was actually room to run and only a few people at the roller slide. Ethan loves climbing up onto the tippy-top of the train and yelling at the tippy-top of his lungs at everyone around him.
 Lincoln really enjoyed chasing the birds through the park.
 Lincoln eventually realized there was a super-huge and sweet train next to him, and that it was meant for climbing.
 Manning the Engine.
 The two boys are starting to play together so cute now. Ethan especially loves to see pictures of the two of them together and always says, "Aww, soo tute."
 Our friends, the Websters, made a family train of their own. Wait, where is Suzanne!?
 I must really like slide pictures. Or my boys really like the slides. I took a lot of slide pictures.
 But they really do make the best pictures.
 And yes, I did narrow them down.
 See? here's one of the suspension bridge.
 We even had slide races. Oops, back to the slides, sorry.
 John discovered that if you jumped on one side of the bridge, you could launch the people standing in the middle of the bridge. I think other bridge patrons were not as pleased as our bunch at John's discovery.
 Low and behold, the bridge emptied out and just our two family played trampoline on the bridge for a while.
 Lincoln is relaxing in his car seat after a nice hard park time.
 Now, let's get going, I'm HUNGRY.
 Ethan is still amped from the park. He can never get enough outdoor playtime.
 The following day we went to the tide pools! John worked extra hard and found some fabulous crabs there.
 I think the tide pools are just as much fun for adults as they are for kids.
 These tide pools were covered in seaweed though, and were a little rough to navigate.
 But it was beautiful.
 And Ethan found his first sea star. Did I tell you that the Monterey Bay Aquarium will correct you if you call them starfish? They do.
 Here is crab number two that John found. It was even a Dungeness. I think it might have been a keeper, but how far will one crab really go with 10 people?
 I tried really hard to get family pictures of us everywhere we went. I think I was looking for a family picture of us recently and had to go back to last December for one. Hmm. Must change that.
 After the tide pools, we timed it right to arrive at our favorite Monterey Pizzeria, Gianni's. They have the most amazing breadsticks. I usually just eat these when we come here. Pizza Schmizza.
 These cutie patooties had such a fun time hanging out this weekend.
 Even though we were beyond full from all of those breadsticks and a small amount of Pizza, we squeezed in a little gelato between the cracks.
 We took our friends to the real, live car auction next and I found my namesake there, a Mitchell!
 The following day we had a little nature time at Point Lobos. I couldn't believe it, but John had never been there. We got a fantastic group shot of all of us!
 And of course, the family picture.
 We saw some unexpected wildlife. Who knew there would be deer this close to the ocean?
 Here are those cutie-patooties again posing for the camera.
 Look at our view from the hike!
 We found a ton of purple sea urchins. Wait, what are these called again? I can only remember the sushi name for it!
 This was a blow hole coated in mussels.
 You probably can't see it, but that whole middle section is coated in seals.
 We were surrounded by this crazy rock that just looked like someone dropped a bunch of cement onto the beach and stuck all these tiny rocks and sand in it.
 My three boys.
 Who could resist wearing a rock hat?
 We took the boys on a bike ride down to the wharf.
 Spotted about 50 huge sea lions. One of them might have been the huge bull that wanted to kill me when I sailed into his territory on a kayak all those years ago. I think I blocked out the details though, so I'm not sure I could find him in a line up.
 Our boys found a little tractor outside a restaurant at which we ate the most divine eggs benedict.
 We also spent two days at the beach, doing lots of boogie boarding. John wore a hot pink wetsuit. I got a family picture with him in it. You're welcome.
 Ethan even got to do some boogie boarding. We had so much fun! We really need to spend more full weeks at the beach house. It was a dream come true! And thank you, Websters, for coming with us! 
And yes, you did just read a post with 51 pictures in it. May I mention that limiting pictures is not my strong suit?