Wednesday, July 29, 2009

A day at the beach

These are my cute parents.
I think they get more therapy out of a day at the beach, just hanging out and listening to the ocean waves, than most people could from a year with a psychologist. They just love it.
This is all my mom came to do:

I love that they want to bring us along! As kids we'd join with one of our favorite families (a shout out to the McDowells there!) and head to Bodega Bay for a day of fun. We're all grown up (well, some of us...but I'll get to that) so there's less playing in the frigid water and more book reading, but it's still a good time.

It's totally appropriate that my dad's license plate frame says, "I may get older, but I refuse to grow up." While that pesky Parkinson's disease may slow him down, his mind is quick and he's still just a big kid at heart. While Mom was keeping with tradition by making brownies and packing blankets and other necessary items for the day, Dad made sure the kite we've had since I was a kid was packed. I don't think we were on the beach for more than fifteen minutes before he pulled out the kite and got it in the air.Nate ended up flying it so high that it was lost in the clouds and fog. Bringing it back down was a bit of a workout!Back to my dad. After kite flying, he couldn't be still for too long, so he fed the seagulls Cheetos -- lots of Cheetos. Like these 'pigeons of the sea' need any encouragement, right?
And, when that was finished, Dad decided the rest of us needed a little antagonizing.
I love that he's got such a great spirit still and keeps us laughing so much of the time.

On the way home we stopped here.
Hands down the best ice cream -- ever. If you've seen the movie 'Up' you've at least heard of this place. There's a reason that kid Russell in the movie is such a darling chub. He probably visited Fenton's a few too many times. Next time you're driving through Vacaville you've got to stop. And if it's autumn, I'd definitely recommend the apple pie ice cream. I can't wait for it to come around in a few months. So good!
Ice cream for dinner was a perfect way to end the day. I mean, look at this.
DElicious, right?

Thanks Mom for nailing down a date and planning a great day at the beach! Your kids had a wonderful time.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

So happy together!

Yesterday afternoon our home was filled with friends. So much fun! While we wish the circumstances that brought us all together would have been different, it was still such a treat to have them with us. These three BYU roommates from long ago and their wives (and our other friends who left before I thought about pulling the camera out -- sorry!) spent a few hours catching up on life, remembering some of their college antics and laughing a lot. All of the day's events made for one of my most favorite memories of this summer.
This morning, as our friends head back to Utah and Canada, we're feeling a little lonely. Even though we rarely see them as it is, it's kind of funny how being with good friends, the ones we're surely going to have for a lifetime, can do that. If I had my way, they'd be our lifetime neighbors -- for sure.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

The Great Outdoors

Beautiful weather, a great campsite, a very handy and fun traveling companion and plenty of s'mores all made for a perfect camping trip. Last week we pack up and headed to D.L. Bliss State Park in Tahoe. Neither of us had ever heard of it, but when Sunset Magazine rated it as the fourth best campsite in California, we thought it deserved a try. It definitely didn't disappoint. Our only complaint about the park, and the entire trip really, is that we just weren't there long enough!It's been a looooooong time since I've been camping. I grumbled a bit (or maybe more than a bit) about how much work it is to get ready for a 'simple' trip like this. There was definitely a part of me that wanted to just pack a suitcase and check in at the Marriott instead of doing all of the prep work and extra packing that camping requires. But, in the end, it wasn't so bad, and all of our preparations were worth it.
The first night there we had DElicious foil dinners.
(No I did not gain 30 pounds, I'm just wearing Nate's jacket because it was a bit chilly.)

I've been known to make and assemble a s'more in the kitchen by 'roasting' a marshmallow on the gas flame of our stove top (they are one of my favorite foods, after all), but it's doesn't compare to one made by the campfire. If you're ever camping with Nate have him roast you a marshmallow. He's good.
(I guess we switched things up. Nate's doing the cooking and I'm attempting the photography!)

Sea kayaking was quite an adventure...a four hour adventure.
We launched at Baldwin Beach and journeyed over to Emerald Bay. Nate has wanted to explore Fannette Island in the Bay so that's where we headed to. There was a high wind advisory for later that afternoon and we sure had a few windy moments as we paddled and paddled and paddled some more. But, eventually we made it, climbed up the rocky stairs and had a beautiful view of the lake. So worth it.
Oh, and kayaking back, although still not easy, was so much better because the wind was actually helping us along this time.

The two of us did some other hiking, but we loved our campsite and wanted to hang out there a lot of the time too.
(Pretty much the best least we think so after driving through the whole campground!)

Nate had already tried it out, but this was my first time using our new tent. (Thank you REI used gear sale!) It didn't disappoint, that's for sure. In fact, our tent combined with an air mattress (and probably just being more relaxed), made for better sleeping than I get at home sometimes!

We ventured into South Lake Tahoe for an afternoon and checked out the shops at Heavenly Village. Fun, but I was enjoying being a camper far too much to be too interested in being a shopper. And, our last stop before leaving Tahoe was the super cute ice cream parlor at Camp Richardson.
The whole area of Camp Richardson was bursting with families having lots of fun and the ice cream shop was no exception. I've never seen a 'single' scoop quite that large before. It was more like 4 scoops -- and so tasty!

Sunset Magazine is right. This is a great place to camp and hopefully the beginning of a family tradition that takes us back again.