Friday, August 24, 2012

Making Memories: Lake Francis Edition

For the last weekend of our August vacation we headed to Lake Francis in Dobbins, CA.
My friend, Heidi, had recommended the Family Camp Special here to me...actually a couple years ago.
So here are the details of the Family Camp Special:
Arrive at 4:00 Friday.
Deluxe 2 Bedroom Cabin for a family of 4.
Enjoy all of the ammenities,
Beach Volleyball
Soccer fields
Basketball courts
Lake with swimming and boat rentals
Ping Pong
Pool table
Swimming pool. (Which we never made it to.)
ALL of our meals included!
(You know what that means?!?! NO COOKING ALL WEEKEND!)
Leave by 11am Sunday.
All of this for $350 "Out the Door!"
(Additional family members are an exra cost of $80 per person, but we got EK in for
free since she's only two-years-old and still eats like a bird.)
The sign is right...this place rocks!
This clan had no idea what fun they were in for!
Upon arriving we got wrist bands and coupons for meals, etc...
And went to check out our cabin.
We were so pleasantly surprised as to the cleanliness of the cabin.
It had a nice balcony out front, 2 bedrooms at either end, divided by bathroom, kitchen, and living space.
Each bedroom had 2 sets of bunk beds, one of which had a double bed on the bottom.
Side Note: we almost cancelled this trip due to Emma Kate's lack of sleep while we were gone on our first trip of the week. But after much prayer and a purchase of an airbed with side wings, she actually slept! After coming to the conclusion that she is just too long for the Pack n Play we knew that we had to figure something else out. We put the airbed on top of the double mattress and she never even realized that she could get down. Thank the Lord!
Here's EK and J getting familiar with the sleeping arrangements.
Jeff and I slept on separate twin beds and Dom got his own room!

Here's a pic of the "square" surrounded by the restaurant, store, creamery, and game room.
(It was over 100 degrees, but we got to enjoy breakfast outside both mornings before it got hot.)

Friday night we walked over to the lake, which is right across the road, to check it out.

It was beautiful!
So beautiful that Emma couldn't contain herself!

Later we enjoyed the sports area...

We took our own equipment, but come to find out...they have everything available for borrowing!


We also brought games for playing in the evening... 
The cabin had air conditioning too!
But it's a wall unit in the family room.
It's very loud, which is actually nice white noise for sleeping.
But is super cold when you're sitting at the table playing games.
An extra layer was definitely necessary...

These guys are so crazy!
(We would've just turned off the air, but it was still pretty warm in the bedrooms.)
Saturday morning we rented a row boat for an hour (included in our package is a one hour kayak, canoe, row boat or paddle boat rental.)
We thought getting out early would help us beat the heat.
One spin around the main part of the lake and we were done!
So was Emma.
She whined the whole time:(
Dom rowed the whole way.
Thanks Dom! 
But the lake was the PERFECT temp for cooling off.
One of the great things about this lake is that there are no motorized boats.
Which means no big waves.
And we could take our rafts all the way out to the middle without being worried.

After a long day at the water we played some ping pong. 
And ate ice cream. 
And we threw the kids in jail! 
We even saw Heidi's parents who came to the restaurant for dinner!
We closed the day playing out on the basketball court and soccer field in the dark with a ton of glow sticks/bracelets/necklaces. We threw them in the air, made jewelry, and elaborate designs. It was an awesome way to finish up the day!
The best part about the weekend was that we got to spend some amazing family time together.
So much of the time we go do things with other family or friends.
Barely ever do we get out, just the 5 of us.
ALL 5 of us.
It makes me sad to think about how much I miss out on with all the business of everyday life.
How many times I tell the kids, "Not right now" when they ask me to play, because I'm cooking or doing laundry, or vaccuuming.
How quickly they are growing.
As we look toward the beginning of another school year, I am forced to come to the realization that I only have 2 short years before Dominic starts his first year of college!
Connor is about to start his first year of being in school all day.
And Emma will be starting pre-school next Fall.
But for this one weekend we were able to shut out all of that stuff, make time stand still, while we enjoyed each other, right where we're at;
and Make Some Memories to last a lifetime.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Now Interrupting...

Now interrupting "Making Memories Week" to bring you a beautiful wedding at High Sierra Iris Ranch in Camino, CA this past weekend.
Jeff's cousin, K, got married Saturday night and we left the kids with my parents so that we could have sort of a Date Night. (Hey you gotta take any opportunity possible right?!?!)
If you're familiar with Apple Hill...that's where High Sierra is located.
The grounds were beautiful!

Here's where the ceremony took place...
There was a huge pond down below, surrounded by small areas of seating for the Cocktail Hour. 
I could tell K is a Pinterest Girl! 
LOVE her sign-in area!
(If you look closely, you can see the pond in the background.)
The speeches were done at the base of the steps where the bridal party came down during the ceremony. 
K and her new hubby work for the Forest Service and the details of the wedding
were perfect in reflecting their personalities. 
 (All of the wood was collected and cut from her dad's property.)
The ring bearer and flower girl were precious! 

I LOVE watching the kids at weddings, as long as they aren't mine!
Jeff and I joked that if we would've brought the kids, we probably would have turned around to find Connor swimming in the pond at some point;)

Instead we were able to hang out, let loose and be a little silly with the family! 
Beck and I got some dancing in and
J and I took
a quick self-portait before heading home for the night...
 It was almost a 2 hour drive home, but we got to save some money on a hotel, sleep in our own bed, and we still didn't have the kids until the morning!
On the way home we also had fireworks!
(Both figuratively and literally!)

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Making Memories: Birthday Edition

This year for Connor's 6th Birthday he decided to go on a family day trip instead of having a birthday party. In case you don't know, my CoCo has inherited his dad's love for trains!
He has already ridden many different railroads with his dad.
He has also been to the Sacramento Railroad Museum a handful of times.
But he has never ridden Amtrak.
So for his family day trip he decided he wanted to ride Amtrak to Old Sacramento to the Railroad Museum.
And we decided a day trip on our week off would be the perfect time to do it.

Normally Dominic would have nothing to do with a trip like this.
But seeing as how it was in honor of Connor's birthday, he joined us too!

Connor also wanted to go to my aunt's deli for lunch, The Sandwich Spot, up in Sac.
This meant we needed a car too.
So Dom, Emma Kate, and I took Connor and Jeff to the Amtrak station and then drove up separately.

Connor was one excited little man!
He got to see the conductor and the baggage car... 
 Amtrak even gave out little activity bags for the ride.
 We bought One-Way-Tickets for them so that we could all drive back together.
And save a little money too;)
Once we got to Sacramento it seriously took us only about an hour to go through the museum.
They have a lot of statue people set up in the train exhibits, which Connor will not go anywhere near.
He is so scared of stuff like that.
So we took a quick look around, saw the engine that Daddy drove a long time ago, and headed upstairs, where they have all of their Thomas train layouts set up for the kids to play with, along with all of their model trains on display.
We spent a majority of our visit up there!

It wasn't long before he was ready to go.
We stopped by The Sandwich Spot, had lunch with my aunt, and were home by 3!

I was worried that Connor would be disappointed that we didn't all take the train together or that he didn't get to go round-trip.
But that boy is still talking about it.
He LOVED every minute!

He's already talking about his 7th birthday...

Friday, August 17, 2012

Making Memories: San Luis Obispo Edition

Last week was actually our FOURTH Summer vacation!
I know! That's a lot!
In May we took the boys to Disneyland. (More on that another time.)
In June we went to Pinecrest for a few days.
And we headed to Big Sur in July. (More on that later too!)
It seems like a lot but each trip has been for a maximum of four days.
We've tried some new things and new places!
We originally only had one weekend trip planned for our August week off.
But other things developed...We were super excited that Dominic was able to get the whole week off of work to spend with us, so we wanted to make it fun.

We opened the week with an impromptu trip down to the San Luis Obispo area to spend a couple days with Jeff's aunt and uncle.
We spent Sunday adventuring down that way, stopping along the way at a few places of which we've always thought looked interesting in the past, but were always on our way to somewhere else.
One stop was San Juan Bautista. This is a small town which consists of a mission, some very old buildings, lots of antiques, and cream!
Have you ever had Lappert's Ice Cream?!?!
There's a Lappert's in Kauai that we LOVE!
I chose the White Chocolate Macadamia Nut as yes, one of my TWO flavors, in honor of our last Lappert's experience.

 We found a special antique treasure I have been searching for for a while!
And we walked around the mission too.
The kids were AWESOME!
Actually I was mostly worried about Dom on this stop.
(Connor loves antique shopping and Emma Kate pretty much goes for anything.)
But Dominic, my coin collector, found some treasures too!
We eventually made it down to our destination and had some really nice family time with not only Jeff's aunt and uncle, but with one of his cousins and his family as well.

Monday we took off to Avila Beach, stopping along the way to show Dom the Cal Poly campus.
(Weird huh? Starting to check out some colleges!)
Anyway, if you ever get the chance, check out Avila Beach.
It is beautful!
The weather was gorgeous too!

 It seriously felt like we were in San Diego.
(I have to admit that I was a little bummed we couldn't make it down there this year.)

 But Avila was just fine for everyone!

 Even J was a good sport; he's not really a huge fan of sand.
And sandy kids!

I am sad to report that I didn't get any other pics of our trip, after the beach.
We spent the rest of the day at Jeff's cousin's house swimming with all the kids.
And headed home on Tuesday.
Other than the fact that we got NO sleep, we had such a great time reconnecting with family and
"Making memories" of our own.

Since Pincerest in June, "Making Memories" has become our vacation motto this Summer.
Any time something has gone wrong, or when Emma Kate is waking up for the 10th time during the night, there's nothing we can do, but lean into each other and whisper,
"We're making memories."