California – What a Trip! – Pt. 1

We spent a week in California. And what a week it was!

We split our trip in half – sort of. Three days along the West Coast and the remainder of the week in the California Sierra Nevada Mountain Range, among the rolling hills.

Angels Camp is a beautiful, small town with much to offer visitors. Nestled among the rolling hills in Calaveras County, this tiny town was made famous from many successful gold mines as well as by Mark Twain’s The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County.

But I’m getting ahead of myself…and this will *have* to be a multi-poster. I mean, how can I just haze over some of the most amazing sights that were seen by a couple of East-Coasters?

We left from Louisville, KY for Chicago, IL before heading west. This trip was the first time the 14 year old flew – and the first in over 25 years my husband stepped on a plane. The flight to San Francisco was educational as we were handed Coke cans in Chinese…I think…even the waitress wasn’t sure.

We flew over some pretty landscapes – even boring Interstate 80 looked pretty from above.

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Our first stop – Lombardi Street. The world’s crookedest street. I thought this street was a few blocks, but thankfully, the crooked portion was only one block. We took Uber to the top of the block and walked down.

From the top of the block, you can see the houses over looking the bay. The colorful hydrangeas planted along the block add beauty to the street.Since one photo doesn’t do justice to the street, I took a few…one of which captured my son walking down behind me – the kid flew in from Salt Lake City in the wee hours of the morning only to go on a trek of the city shortly after breakfast. Yup – we love him to pieces!

From Lombardi Street, we ventured over to the San Francisco Bay. I love history, and seeing Alcatraz in person was another highlight for me. I saw it safely from the pier instead of traveling and dealing with crowds – I do not do large crowds. *shutters at the thought*

We visited the shops and sights of Fisherman’s Wharf along Pier 39. We watched the infamous Sea Lion’s lay claim to their pack of piers.The Sea Lion’s have a fair amount of piers they have taken as their own, to bask in the sun and lounge on one another.

Coit Tower was fascinating to see after watching a movie where the family met there if they got separated, not to mention a point of interest for visitors in Telegraph Hill. The top of the tower resembles that of a fire hose, though that was not the intention of the architect. Instead, it was a tower built in honor of the lady who left money “for the purpose of adding to the beauty of the city I have always loved” in a bequest upon her death in 1929. The tower offers a 360 degree view of the city. We didn’t make it to the tower, but we were able to see it throughout the day.

Now for the food – who goes to a new city in a never-before-visited state and not eat the food?! 20160605_12150420160605_121508

Blackened cod and fish and chips – served in a metal pail! Ha! I do have to add a little tid-bit about the bathroom – it was an “open concept” type…you walked in to a large area with double sinks in the middle of two sets of stalls. Two on each side. <whispers> they were not marked specifically “men” and “women”. It was a little unsettling until it was realized that people knew which side was which…thank goodness for locals!

 

Coaster Loop of Life

Darn thoseeyesclosed blinking eyes! The family was shrinking as everyone was moving out and now it’s growing again.

The oldest is married and in her new home, while working full time at the hospital and juggling two step daughters.

The second is out in Utah for college and driving us crazy with the “should I stay or should I go?” mentality. Why? Just why?!

The youngest – thankfully! – is only in 8th grade and has a rosy view of the world. He sings and smiles and looks to the positive. But then I am sure all that will change within the next year as he settles into his freshman year and starts his high school career.

The parental units have retired and are 95% moved into their side of the house. Sure, they have to travel back to Jersey for appointments and finishing up minor details here and there. But they will be returning before the winter months are upon us…At least that’s what they say. I sure hope so because I have a 50th Anniversary party that is in the planning stages and they are required to be there – since it is for them.

No one said life would be easy. No one said life would be fair. Do you know what No One Else failed to mention? That at some point you will be pulling out your hair because rollercoaster-loop-11989493between the kids and the parents, sometimes this roller coaster of life throws a loop and then lets you hang upside down. Just for a moment…or two…perhaps they forgot to turn the coaster back on…but wait – there’s someone now…oh never mind, they turned away…

 

That’s what life feels like at times. But we all know in the end, it’s worth it. Right?

So where does that leave me? I have added two additional titles to my name: mother-in-law and grandma. I can live with that. Being a grandma is interesting enough. Wait until my daughter has one of her own – then it’ll hit a different way. Simply because it means I really am old enough to be someone’s grandma.

Life is good all around. Thankfully, the coaster was started again and we are about to crest the next hill. hillview

 

 

Ending of Another Year

Aww, the ending of 2012 is drawing near and all I can say is it’s about time.

The year started out with a promotion and ended with another promotion. But the in between months, lets just say they could have been skipped.

From June through December, we buried fifteen relatives.

Wait, take a step back…the month of July held a wedding, not a funeral.

Ok, back to the path…the end of October held a reunion for my siblings and I. It was a great reprieve from the funerals we were dealing with.

A week in the Ozarks (Petite Jean State Park in Arkansas) was exactly what the doctor ordered. We hadn’t seen each other in two years and had been looking forward to spending some quality time with the whole family. It was a great few days of being silly, hiking, and enjoying each others company.

However, that was also the week Superstorm Sandy decided to hit the Jersey shore. Though the storm was thousands of miles away from where we stood, it was exactly where our family lived. Thankfully they are all alright. Some lost their homes, most lost their vehicles. They are all rebuilding or renovating their homes now and slowly things are returning to normal.

December brought this nasty illness about – we have shared it a few times and hopefully the current snow storm will snap it out once and for all.

Do I need to mention the world didn’t end on 12.21.12? Do I need to say I’m thankful it didn’t end?
I would like to see my daughter finish phlebotomy classes and accept a job offer, not to mention see the boys graduate high school, maybe even get married…hmm things to think about.

This brings us to Christmas and the last week of 2012. Do I hear a small crowd cheering?

Christmas Eve found my three children and my daughters boyfriend dancing along to Just Dance and playing Mario Brothers, not at the same time, but I wouldn’t be surprised if they tried.

And the last Friday of the month brought about a promotion.

Now the year can end…

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Taking Back Control (I hope!)

Sometimes you just can’t help the lack of postings. In my case, I allowed life to keep me away from posting. Although, it hasn’t kept me from reading some of my favorite bloggers.

Having to work on a computer all day, sometimes the last thing I want to do at the end of the day is to sit in front of another white, blinding, bright screen. Yeah, I could dim the brightness of the monitor, but sometimes its just easier being lazy and not exert that last bit of exertion. After all, to truly relax you’re suppose to not do anything, right?

Work, kids, life aside, I have GOT to get back to my relaxing moments – especially after a grueling day of work. Not that I do manual labor, but I spend endless hours a day working with spreadsheets, claims, and reports…and then some…

I’m excited about the weather warming up. I plan to spend a great amount of time outdoors with the boys. They want to play some good old fashioned baseball (not on a team!) as well as spending time walking aimlessly up and down the river walk – camera in hand. The evenings will find us outside, staring up through binoculars at the twinkling lights in the sky.  The boys requested an astronomy lesson throughout the summer. (Home-school habits die hard!)

Spring is upon us and I’ve been cleaning house – how I enjoy adding papers to the shred pile! Thankfully, the 9-year-old actually likes to stand/sit with a pile of papers while feeding the machine. Sorting, tossing, shredding, scrubbing and packing – that’s the life for me…for now. Which reminds me of my dear, sweet, crazy mother and her packing competition. Almost everyday when we speak she informs me of the total number of boxes she has packed. Ok, she informs me of the amount she packed for the day as well as the total amount of packed boxes. I will be so thankful when they finally move out here. They feel the same way – we are all praying they will be out here by the end of May. They are beyond ready to get out of that state.

Until we meet again…enjoy!   

 

 

 

 

 

Two Zero

Once upon a time, I thought those two digits together were some type of magical age.

Boy was I wrong! When I was 20, I had a child in tow and a husband. I still have the husband, but now that child is 20 years and no longer the sweet, innocent, adorable, little two-year old she once was.

Don’t get me wrong, she is still a sweet kid young woman. It’s just that her interests are no longer wearing frilly dresses while climbing trees. She has progressed towards gaming, jewelry, books, and guys. Or rather a single particular guy. Not that I have a problem with said guy, I have a problem with her no longer being the child I can command and dictate rules and regulations to guide to the right path and she would listen.

Yeah, I wasn’t a dictator or tyrant. But I did have some strict rules – according to her as she compared every rule to those of her friends. Silly me, I have this wish to know who and where and why and how and what is going on in my children’s lives. I mean, weren’t we all taught the 5 W’s in elementary school for a reason?

Where are they going? When are they going and when will they return? Who are they going with and who are the parents? Why are they going? What are they will be doing once they get there? How are they getting there and/or back?

Okay, so back to the 20-year-old.

For her birthday, the family (and boy friend) had dinner at the Texas Roadhouse (seems to becoming a “birthday theme” around here). This lovely child-no-more did not want anyone to know it was her big day.

She made her two brothers promise on their Bibles that they would not so much as utter anything resembling a comment to the waitress/waiter that it was her birthday.

The silly kid forgot about her parents…sad, isn’t it? Not to worry though because while she couldn’t decide what to have for a drink (a non-alcoholic type, thanks!), her dear father turned to the waitress and said: “You’ll have to excuse her. This is her first day of being twenty.” To which the birthday girl immediately looked up, shocked that he said something. She even made “dad” into a two-syllable word as she flushed ever so slightly.

I reassured her that he did not tell the waitress it was her birthday. Do you see where this is going? Can you imagine the look of horror on her face as I spoke those “forbidden” words out loud? It was well worth it.

After dinner, the crew came to the table and did their little “Texas Roadhouse Birthday Wish” and brought out the famous saddle for the birthday person to pose on. And believe me, my husband made sure there were ample amounts of photos taken of the 20-year-old posing on this sad little saddle.

As we were heading back towards home, she did admit she had a great time, despite the worn little saddle she sat on. She was glad we made her day a little extra special.

I’m glad she is a 20-year-old, independent thinker and able to function on her own. But there is a part of me, ever so small, that misses the 2-year-old who was full of questions.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Celebration

  My youngest son’s elementary school held a performance for families. It was entitled: “A Pirate’s Christmas“.

It was a twisted tale of how White Beard (AKA: Santa) helped the pirates understand that it is better to give then to receive. Or in the case of the pirates – to take what isn’t theirs.

The little boy, in the footsteps of his bigger brother, hammed it up.

But then again, I think all the 4th graders were having a blast while exaggerating their performance.

Once White Beard and his merry men brought the pirates to the North Pole, the head pirate – sorry, I can’t remember the name – convinced his followers that White Beard was off his rocker. Or was it off the boat?

Either way, the pirates learned and accepted that the practice of giving was much more lucrative than taking what they wanted, when they wanted, how they wanted, well, you get the picture…

During the performance these little pirates and elves sang Christmas songs drenched in pirate verses. It was a cute little show – one I will enjoy sharing in person with my parents once they make “the move”.

Note to self: Sit in the bleachers – the floor seats have extreme limited sight…as in I saw glimpses of the stage through out the show thanks to many children and adults who moved around. Thankfully my husband was on the aisle and was able to get many pictures and videos of the performance. So yeah, next year – I’m sitting up high. 🙂

Weekly Photo Challenge: Family

This is my teenage son. He is a bit silly and full of wit and humor. Add a little (or a lot) of sarcasm, and you have the character traits of this ray of sunshine. I choose this photo to represent family because his expression captures the fun and crazy times we share – whether we intentionally try to be silly or not.