Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Naughty Willa...

Willa has a knack for breaking the rules without getting in trouble.

When she was 3 she wrote her name in pen  on the back of both of the front seat headrests in the van. She did a great job and that was the 1st time I saw her write her name. Her name is still there today, a bit faded but still there...

She is learning to read and write in 1st grade and exploring phonics on her own. Its amazing how quick she is learning how to read and write. She added a few items to our grocery list and dinner recipe.  I noticed that her spelling is also impeccable for a 1st grader.

Saturday, September 15, 2018

Hot Springs, Lakes, Rivers Oh My!!

We recently visited an amazing new place called Mono Hot Springs Resort, located in the south western Sierras.   We teamed up with another super mom Ashley and her 3 daughters.  We booked a  walk-in tent stocked with camp beds. This place also had a spa with baths and hot tubs fed by natural hot spring water.

Picture this, high sierra mountains, river,lakes and hot-springs, oh my!

We wake early for our 1st adventure. At 8:00am the heat is already super intense. Not your average heat but the kind you cant get away from, causing you to move slow mixed with high elevation. We left camp early to hike to the closest lake called Doris Lake. According to the map this lake is super close. We packed a bunch of water, snacks, and floaties, drove to the trail head to start. 

Their website states "Doris Lake is an easy one mile hike from the resort and a popular swimming hole for decades."  We figured it would be a perfect hike for the little ones. NOT!

It was extremely HOT so we had to go slow, especially with two 6 year olds. We were sweating faster than we could drink.  The trail started to get quite  obscure which was worrisome. When we saw the sign to Doris Lake telling us to go left, we went left. About 30 minutes later the kids were over it and us moms were questioning the route. We ran into another couple who informed us we were headed to Tule Lake, the wrong lake!

Taking a break in the shade
We did an about-face  to try to find the correct lake. At this point we were conserving our water, sweating bullets, and poor little Reagan fell down and was crying. We pretty much dragged the kids along until we got back on the correct trail and 15 minutes later made it to Doris Lake, hallelujah!

The lake was amazing, a true hidden Sierra mountain lake surrounded by large granite boulders, a cliff jumpers heaven.

After playing a bit in the water and having lunch, we start to hear thunder. We were warned by another hiker that it may be a good idea to head back before the storm comes in. Sadly, we cut our trip short and started packing up to make it back before the storm came in.

Sierra storms are unlike anything we experience in Santa Cruz, purely amazing. We hiked back in our bathing suites and it  started to dump, I'm talking huge fat raindrops, sheets of rain which was soon followed by hail and a ton of thunder and lightening.  What a change from 100 degree weather to freezing hail! Ashley and I are pulling little Willa and Reagan along while the bigger girls hurried ahead of the group to make it back to the car. 

Upon arriving at the car we see the windows were open and everything was soaked! Instead of heading back to camp we decided to go hang out in the hot tub fed by natural hot springs. That was a day of firsts for many of us, 1st grueling hike, 1st hike in a thunder storm, 1st hike in a hail storm. What an epic adventure, cant wait to go back next year!

Home Sweet Home
Made it to Doris Lake!

Hot Springs on the river
Mud Mask!
Natures Spa
Hot Springs

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Lost in the Woods!

Big Rock Hole Trail
One sunny day we drove to Henry Cowell State Park to meet up with some friends who were camping there. They told us to meet them at the river and to follow the Big Rock Hole trail to get there.

We start the hike at 12:30 and I bring a stroller for Willa, 3 bottles of water and a few snacks. We park at the visitor center, find their campsite and then start on the trail which is right next to their site, easy peasy.

We hike out of the shade of the forest and into the chaparral where the sun beats down raising the temp to about 80+ degrees. We make it to the observatory platform and ditch the stroller as it is too sandy to take it any further.  The trail splits and we continue on  Big Rock Hole trail for quite a while taking a few turns as there are a ton of side trails at this park.

Its really hot and Scarlett & Willa are wearing bathing suits and bad hiking shoes.  I thought this would be a short little hike to the river so I let Willa wear her princess rain boots and Scarlett chose her new school shoes.

We make it to the top of the grade, have a quick break and thankfully the trail starts to head down  into the shade of the forest. Were in about 2 miles in at this point.

Willa taking a break in the shade

We continue down, down, down for a long time and in the back of my mind I am thinking how this means we will have to return by going up up, up... I am also surprised that our friends hiked this far to the river as they are not big hikers. Luckily my girls are used to me dragging them on hikes so they are hanging in there.

Finally, we hear water and make it to this beautiful hidden river with no one to be seen. I figure we missed them and they must have left already. We take a break and play in the water for a few minutes and eat our snacks which consisted of watermelon taffy and nuts.  I make the kids save the last half empty bottle of water and rush everyone along to get back before dark as its around 2:30 at this point.

Our very own beautiful private river!
Willa starting back up the hill
We start the hike back up the steep hill and its tough going. I carry Willa for much of it and poor Scarlett drags behind, both girls hiking in their bathing suits because it was so hot. Ava has a head ache but isn't complaining which is a big help.  I think she knew I was on the edge. By the time we reach the top we are out of water and pretty tired.

We make it to a 4 way split and I wish I would have paid more attention on the way down. I quickly rule out 2 paths and am really not sure on the other two. I was pretty turned around.

I see a girl walking our way but when I ask her for directions she doesn't speak much English or Spanish for that matter. Luckily I see someone else was walking up the trail and I am about to ask him, when I see he is shouting something while holding a sign on a stick which says "911 was a hoax" The girls just stare and he keeps rambling. At this point I quickly choose the trail in the opposite direction that the weird guy went and we head down the hill.

About a mile later I have an idea where we are and it is nowhere close to where we need to be. You see, Henry Cowell has 2 different entrances and we came in through Graham Hill and we were now headed toward the highway 9 entrance which is where the main ranger station and store is located. My new plan is to get to the ranger station and get water as we are all out and extremely thirsty. At this point we spoke to a fellow hiker who confirmed we had about 1 more mile to go and was kind enough to give us his water. 1 more mile, that's nothing, but it seemed so far away.... I was so tired and shed a few tears at this point and possibly said a few cuss words as I couldn't imagine carrying Willa one more mile.

Finally, we made it to the ranger station and the kids plopped down and drank water. I asked the woman in the store for a ride to the other entrance where our car was. She said no, the rangers can't do that, and so I called our friend Leanne who happens to live 5 minutes away. She dropped everything and came to our rescue,  driving us back to our friends campsite and even walked with me to hike back up to the place where I left the stroller.

I figured we hiked between 7 to 8 miles! Once we met up with our friends we realized they meant for us to go to Big Rock River which is different than the Big Rock Trail,  Woops!   They made up for it by cooking up some hot dogs for my ravenous kids and poured me a nice cold glass of Chardonnay.

I'm now way more familiar with Henry Cowell trails and this was a cool bonding experience that they will remember forever, not to mention a great story. Now, whenever we go on a hike the kids say, is it as long as the hike when we got lost in the woods? 

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Sisterly Wisdom

This is one of my favorite picture books. It explores scenes above and below the ground and has great illustrations and tons of conversation points. 

I was reading this page to Willa which says: Early in the morning families buzz 'roud the house. while down in the cellar sleeps one tiny mouse.

I asked Willa if she knew what a cellar is as we do not have these in California.

She pointed at the mouse in the right corner and said Yes its full of... and then she paused.   I said yes they do often have mice in them  to which she replied  No, they are full of dead bodies...

I asked her who told her that and she replied Scalrett, who will seems to believe to a fault.

When I asked Scarlett about bodies in the cellar she started laughing. Who knows what else she has told Willa.

Friday, March 11, 2016

Our Toilet is Glowing!

Kevin ordered the craziest contraption, a toilet light! Did you even know such a thing exits?! This is no ordinary toilet light but a color changing one at that. It rotates between 4 colors and is motion activated[. At first I thought it was a weird unnecessary item but that was before I learned about the logistics involved when guys pee in the dark.

Because this house is full of girls (and Kevin) I never thought much about what is involved when a guy has to pee in the dark.

When I go pee in the wee hours, I'm always half asleep so I sit down with my eyes closed and then shuffle back to bed. I now know that guys have to not only keep their eyes open, but also have to aim at the target. If you miss you get a mess and then there is the matter of trying to pee quietly, aiming for the edges of the bowl rather than the middle.  Who knew there was an actual strategy to peeing in the dark?

The 1st night the toilet light arrived, the kids went nuts. They literally had to come watch me pee so they could see my pee change colors as it streamed into the bowl.  I had 2 little girls hovering over me while I sat on the toilet, talk about no privacy! Scarlett is still waiting for a nighttime poo so she can see what the light does to poop! Sadly for her we are all morning poopers...

Ava's BFF Ella also love the toilet light!

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

You Did What?!

We were having a little Bar B Que when Ava asked me if she could dye her friend Tommy's hair with food coloring. I figured that was a safe non-permanent way to color hair so said "sure". You would be surprised how well it worked, Tommy had perfectly pink hair.  Scarlett was adamant that she was next.

Scarlett joined Ava in the bathroom and I peeked in to see how it was going and it was crazy! It looked as though a paintball gun went off, pink everywhere!  I honestly do not understand how it got on the walls! I told her to quickly clean it up before her dad saw it.

You see I am the one who lets the kids do things that seem like a good idea at the time and Kevin always errs on the side of caution. More often than not, he ends up being right.  I did not want Kevin to come in and see the explosion of pink and say "you let the kids do what with food coloring?!"

Ava's friend Ella showed up for the party and I ushered her into the bathroom, handed her a bottle of 409 and told her to please help Ava clean up the mess.  The 3 girls got to cleaning and a few minutes later I came in to see the progress and was speechless. Let me set the scene...

Scarlett is stark naked in the shower, dripping red,  being sprayed down with 409. Thats right, 409 with duel action grease fighting power. I asked Ava if she truly thought that it is OK to spray your sister with chemicals that we lock up under the sink?! She said "The bottle says it is an all purpose cleaner"  I was so mad I told the girls to get out and I took over.

As I am washing Scarlett with soap and water  she tells me that they not only sprayed her body but her feet and under her armpits too! As if there was food coloring under her arm pits, really...

20 minutes later I had a squeeky clean Scarlett and a semi clean bathroom.

I learned 3 valuable lessons that day:

1. Food coloring is an effective but extremely messy way to color your hair
2. Smart kids can do really stupid things
3. I hate to admit it but Kevin is most often right (most, not always...

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Who needs a door anyway...

You know that sound of a slamming door followed by a screaming child? You get that icky feeling in your stomach while your mind starts thinking of the awful smashed finger stories you've heard in your life.  You run to see if your kids still have all their fingers and breath a sigh of relief to find 10 intact digits. Well, we not only have doors but also a big sliding glass door which  have strict rules not to slam and it inevitably happens anyway. The slider is like the big daddy of all finger munchers, especially after the annual maintenance when it slides nice and smooth.

Whenever the girls slam their door, Kevin threatens to take the door off the hinges.  Well, today he finally followed through with this threat. Scarlett slammed the door to keep Willa out of their room and it hit Willa in the face. So Kevin grabs his tools and takes the door off the hinges all the while both Scarlett and Willa are crying that they need their door. Ava just rolls her eyes and said "Who needs privacy anyway?"

The girls finally calmed down and we tacked up a shower curtain we had which ended up looking super cool! The girls are all excited about their new room decor and the lack of door somehow makes the room look bigger which is a plus as it is similar to an overcrowded dorm room. The best part is  that I can rest assure that the girls will be able to keep all their fingers!

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