Friday, October 7, 2016

NZ Reunion in Zion!

As most of you know, 10 years ago I went on a 4 week-long trip to New Zealand with 41 strangers from across the US and Canada. On that trip, I met 5 girls who were just my tribe, you know? Just awesome girls that I loved and got along with so well. A couple of shots of us together in NZ:

(One of the cabins we stayed in during the environmental conservation portion of the trip)

One of my favorite shots is this one from the very first day on the trip. Our giant group walked down to the local beach, and at some point we just grabbed whoever was standing nearby and snapped a picture. What a coincidence that we just happened to grab the exact 6 that would become so close later!

Our group has gotten together about 6 or 7 times since that trip as little reunions, sometimes for a wedding. We've done Phoenix a few times, Chicago, Napa and San Diego. For our 10 year reunion, we decided to up the ante a little and do something outdoorsy as a nod to the trip that brought up together. So after some deliberation, we decided on Zion National Park in Utah!

After some flights and some driving, we arrived at our rental house just outside of the park (as opposed to staying in a lodge in the park or something). While it did mean a 30 minute drive in and out each day, the view was gorgeous and it meant we had unbelievable seclusion and awesome views. We planned our day around the ability to sit on the porch for our morning coffee and cocktails in the evening!

After the drive into the park, we parked the car and took a shuttle up into the canyon (during high traffic months, they don't allow cars into the canyon and you must take the shuttle).

Then it was time for our hike! 

If I had to describe this hike in one word, other than 'beautiful,' it would be 'up.' As in, I felt like I was climbing up for 2 miles. And not just like a gradual switchbacks, burning muscles and the relentless sun.

But it was so fun to be with these girls and really great to catch some incredible views.

We started a part that was so steep that chains had been driven into the cliff to allow people to hold onto. Right next to where I took this photo, there was a sign cautioning people to be careful of the cliff off to the right since 6 people had died there since ... 2012? I think?

Anyway, we went up a bit, but eventually we all turned back and ate our snacks on the top of this little bluff.

Our delicious dinner and drinks on the patio looking up at these mountains was so good, and felt well-earned!

Part II coming next... I could not bring myself to cram all these photos into one post!

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Weekend in Tahoe

After I mentioned to Michael that I had never been to Lake Tahoe in the summertime, this dreamboat of a husband of mine made it happen. We took an overnight trip and had a great time!

We went straight to the beach, having lunch with a view and then changing into our suits.

I wanted to rent paddle boards. I think Michael worried that the kids were still too little for this activity, but it was great! (It helped that there were virtually no waves and that the water was really shallow pretty far out.) We both took the kids out in turns, sometimes with one, sometimes with both. I loved it when I was up on my knees with a kid standing in between my arms helping paddle. It was just so sweet.

We had a hotel room near Heavenly Village. We were expecting another great night like we had in Santa Cruz where the kids did wonderfully. It was... not quite that. These stinkers were bouncing off the walls (and furniture) every moment we were in this room.

We walked to Heavenly Village for dinner and a little mini golf.

The next morning, after picking up some coffee, we rode the gondola up to the top of Heavenly for some awesome views, food, a small hike and some mountain air.

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Kayaking with Friends

How cute is their little pose??

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

June's First Day of School

Back on September first, June started kindergarten!

Lots of people asked if she was nervous, but I can honestly say that she wasn't. The poor girl started school so late that most of her friends at daycare had already left, staying home for the summer or starting their own schools. So by the end, she was one of the only 5 year olds left, and she was so eager for it to finally be her time to start at a new school. So, as a result, she excitedly walked into her new classroom, gave me a big kiss and then sat in her spot on the rug without fuss as I walked out. 

She loves kindergarten. She loves her teacher. When I picked her up on the first day, she said, "I love kindergarten and I never want to leave, ever!"

She's also in the after school program, which is needed since their school gets out so early. So she's got a different set of friends (a few from her kinder class) to hang out with, and a different set of stories to bring home. 

I've really enjoyed hearing about all the school-y stuff... an assembly about school rules, a fire drill, an upcoming ride-your-bike-to-school day. Sometimes June doesn't remember a ton about her day, so I try asking really specific questions. If all else fails, I ask her if everyone was a good listener that day because girl loves nothing more than to tell me about which kids got in trouble that day! (The gossip is strong in this one.)

June picked out her backpack and lunch box. She got the kitten print. 

Sometimes she even lets Bennett hold her lunch box as they walk out to the car!

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Around Here Lately

Having an afternoon alone with the kids, so taking them to get old-time photographs:

A short visit from my childhood friend, Keely:

June and Bennett being cute together: