Wednesday, August 5, 2009

We Took a Family Vacation...

...and now I think it is safe to say we need a vacation from our kids. Love 'em like crazy, but it was a lot of togetherness. Todd and I took the kids to his parents' cabin in Tahoe for five days. Then we came home and less than 24 hours later took off for another five days of camping in Big Sur. To answer your question, yes, we are certifiably nuts. But in our defense it makes life so much more entertaining! And the amount of crap we had to drag along. My GOD! I felt like we were the Joads, loading all of our worldly possessions into our jalopy (only without the jalopy.) Camping required us to take both of our cars. Fortunately, our recently purchased tent trailer should alleviate this predicament in the future.
Tahoe had some amazing weather. Days in the 80s and nights in the 60s. Rare, but oh-so-nice when you can get it. We packed our days full of activities in hopes of burning out the kids. Our first night there we visited and dined with some of Mike and Gail's Tahoe-Donner compadres. After dinner the lighting was just perfect for some photo ops of Maddie. Unfortunately she was not a willing subject. Apparently the grass in the field was "itchy" and there were "too many bugs". I mean, c'mon! The lighting and scenery could not get any better and she turned me down flat! According to my mother the apple does not fall far from the tree and I have only myself to blame for her aversion to insects. Damn! I hate it when she's right.

The two good shots I got of the weed and bug hater:

Anyhoo, we also visited the pool, took Maddie on her annual pony ride at the Tahoe-Donner stables (Todd even humored me and agreed to a trail ride for the two of us), and we took Maddie for a bike ride along the Truckee River. I was even able to finish reading a book while we were there! Really how, often does that happen when you have two kids. And I'll be honest, it was nice to have the help of my gracious in-laws. Mike took Luke one morning to feed him and told me to sleep in. Sleep. In. People. I could have thrown myself at his feet and cried. For the sake of my dignity and his embarrassment, I said thank you instead and returned to the warm haven of my bed. Sleep! Glorious sleep!


Three Generations of Cat Nappers

After five days we returned home to prepare for our next adventure the following day. This would prove the more daring of the two. Most people thought we were nuts. Camping? With a BABY?!? But we figured why the hell not give it a try. We have to break the kid in sometime if we are going to hoof it up to Yellowstone next summer. We were confident that Luke would do fine. Although I will admit, a very small and faint voice said, "What if he becomes hysterical in the middle of the night, and you have to hide in the car to in hopes of muffling the merciless screaming? And everyone in the campground hates you and begins to protest. Then we are ejected from the park in the middle of the night, only to scurry home where we hide under the covers in shame and embarrassment because all of the people at the campground are saying, "I can't believe they brought a baby camping! Didn't anybody warn them? Seriously, what were they thinking?!" Fortunately for us and our fellow campers said situation did not happen. In fact, it was quite the opposite. Luke did GREAT! He loved the trees, the scenery, the fresh air, and being with so may people (especially the kids).
Our friends, the Smiths, joined us.
After camping with them last summer we decided it needed to be an annual thing. For the record, we eat good while camping. I even whipped up some of my Martha Stewart mashed potatoes (they really are to-die-for!) Later that night, we discovered our potato peels were a hit with the skunks. Yes, you read that right. Skunks. There are no bears in Big Sur, but there is quite the skunk population. Personally, I do not care to have a battle of wills with bears or skunks. Both can quite deadly in their own unique ways. So we made a quiet pact with the skunks: you stay on your side of the tent, we'll stay on our side, and no one goes home smelling worse than when they arrived. After that incident, we also remembered to dispose of the garbage every night. The kids had a blast running around, playing in the dirt (especially after taking a shower. They looked like Pigpen with a cloud of dust following in their wake!) We spent an afternoon at the Monterey Bay Aquarium (which is quite the hotspot in the summer, unfortunately. So much for going on a weekday), and another at Andrew Molera State Park. Love, love, loved the jellyfish exhibit at the aquarium. Great photo-ops! Despite all of the fun we had, it was nice to get home and wash the dirt off in my own shower that did require the wearing of flip flops while bathing.

Andrew Molera State Park

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