vay cay wrap up

The 6th night of our vacation was spent in Kernville, CA.

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Night number 7, was spent in Vegas

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We like to mix it up.

So, again

Night Number 6

Night Number 7

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In Between, we went here:  

Our last National Park for this trip, which means we’re all ready for the updated National Park Sign Picture Slideshow!

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Yay!

Anyway, We did like Death Valley.  Actually Hub wasn’t crazy about it, but I can’t remember why.  Oh wait

 Yes, it is pretty toasty and this was May 31st.  July is probably the worst time to go, when it averages 115 degrees with highs in the 120’s.  According to the National Park Service, Death Valley is the hottest place in North America.

In this below-sea-level basin, steady drought and record summer heat make Death Valley a land of extremes. Yet, each extreme has a striking contrast. Towering peaks are frosted with winter snow. Rare rainstorms bring vast fields of wildflowers. Lush oases harbor tiny fish and refuge for wildlife and humans. Despite its morbid name, a great diversity of life survives in Death Valley.

Beauty isn’t everything!

My family didn’t even want to get out of the car for the sign picture, but finally my Hub and Daughter did walk around a little,

although it made me nervous for them to go too far.  I don’t think this park is meant to be travelled lightly.

I just want to blow up an image from the background of that photo:

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If you have binoculars and some patience the people watching here doesn’t disappoint, but I’d stay with the group.

Back to where we stayed.

I was leary at first because it was right across the street from this:

Where I thought we were headed:(  Outdoor Cowboy Mannequins, Noooooo!!  In my opinion, there’s sort of a Fantasy Island level of creepiness that comes with that.

I should have known better.  Hubs travel agenting abilities never fail.  The Sequoia Lodge was totally sweet (no creepy mannequins anywhere on the property, just tons of those cute and pleasant chainsaw bear sculptures… everywhere). This place is probably even better if you actually fish.

but if you don’t fish, it’s still a great place to relax steps away from the rushing Kern River.

Our room had this on the wall:

OPEN ROAD BRANDS EMB TIN SIGN JEFF FOXWORTHY REDNECK HUNTER

I’m not embarrassed to admit that it made me Laugh Out Loud …twice.

A few of the other amenities… a fish cleaning shed, patios, gas & charcoal grills, other stuff and plenty of those delightful wooden bears.

Amenities where we stayed in Vegas…

1,450 sq foot suite with floor-to-ceiling windows for panoramic views of the Las Vegas valley.  Two bedrooms, one with two Queen Beds and another with a King.  Four TVs, lots of pools… and toptional pools.  Walking through a giant casino, of course and an opportunity to answer lots of interesting questions.

What does toptional mean?

Can I have your credit card, we want to do the video games??

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Why are all the churches so small?

Everything is so shiny!  There’s like no downside, right?

Our kids were curious to see Las Vegas, since we have some friends moving out there and it was a good place for us to fly out of.  We were ready to relax and wrap up our trip, and this was definitely something different:)

day 8
(6/1/17) flying back to sweet home kc, always a good thing!

here’s the trip map again, in case you forgot where we started…

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Sequoia and Kings Canyon

Facetious Mommy says by Six Days in nobody in this rented Sonata  really wants to be friends anymore.

We spent the morning in beautiful King’s Canyon National Park, before continuing on to Sequoia.

World’s Most Beautiful Church Camp, wedged between the parks

IMG_1028Tree So Tall, that you’re Still Scrolling.

Okay, little bit more, little bit more aaand got  it!People admire views from within the narrow railing at the top of Moro Rock. Photo courtesy of Paul Johnson.Image result for sequoia national park

Since 1890 people have flocked to this California treasure Image result for sequoia national park vintage photogragh

for the same reason that it is still draws travellers today… because giant trees make everybody look skinny.

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Next, we split the distance between Sequoia and Death Valley at this place:

Image result for sequoia lodge kern.

 

 

Universal Ups & Downs

 

Day 4  and we were up bright and early, headed to

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This is where we learned that if our family played quidditch, one out of four of us might then spew our every flavoured beans in the closest Hogwartian, magical trash can.

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Prepare

To

Feel

So Terrible!

 

We might have also shut down the Simpsons Ride… it was a little more Krusty after we left.

before

… and after

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but we did get to see the Magnum PI car, the set where JB Fletcher rode her bike and the Water World Show.  

Overall we gave Universal Hollywood a big thumbs up

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… more road trip soon to come:)

 

 

 

 

 

Vacation Part 2

The morning of Day 3 we were ready to pack up and head out for a scenic drive up the coast.  We passed beautiful beaches and headed on up to L.A. so that we could see what that was all about.

On our way, we started noticing some odd roadkill.

rikki-tikki-roadkill

toy plushies

Probably a story there.  As we drove along we noticed; Image result for ernie dollImage result for mickey dollImage result for minnie dollImage result for rainbow dash dolland a Image result for minion doll.  They were all, in that order, on the road or smashed up against the concrete barriers.  I wish i’d grabbed the camera, but I kept thinking that we wouldn’t see another one.

I guessed that maybe someone was moving and had them in an open truck bed, but Hub assumed that stressed out parents on a roadtrip were probably winging them out the car windows one at a time whenever someone in the back whined, “how much further?!” or “He’s touching me!”

Lunch Break

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The nice people at IN-N-OUT even let us use their bathroom.  “Show us the food you’ve purchased here and we’ll give up the code.”

Awesome!

It was actually pretty tough to get in or out of that place.  It seemed pretty popular, which makes sense because the food was excellent.

We continued to make our way to a Burbank Marriott by the most roundabout ways possible, seeing fancy Beverly Hills houses, Mulholland Drive, Rodeo, Wilshire, Santa Monica blvd. and all that business.

Here is a picture of the kids in front of the Hollywood sign:

If I had the ability to add a little arrow that would definitely help with locating the sign, but since I don’t have those capabilities finding it can be a fun game for you.

More Road Trip still to come:)

 

 

 

Vacation 2017

May 25th this family hit the road for yet another vacation adventure!  What is the ideal American Vacation for the family with an 11 and 12 year old?

SoCal Roadtrip

which looks a little like this:

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It was a fun one!

First Day we got going early.  We flew to San Diego and our first stop was the Midway.  We did a San Diego Vay Cay when the kids were babies, but they were on a vay cay to Grandma’s House, so everything was new to them.

 I don’t think they’re ready for the navy, but it’s a pretty cool stop if you’re headed that way.  After that we took the Hornblower Harbor Cruise and then drove around Coronado.

By then we were definitely ready for the hotel We called this the Shortbread mural, for the obvious reason…Image result for girl scout shortbread

We were right on the beach, so we had a lot of fun with that.  

The next day was Day 2 in San DiegoIMG_2263

We took the kids back to some more of our favorites

The Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve

Old Point Loma Lighthouse, This close-up view of the light room at the top of the Old Point Loma tower reveals the sturdy construction that helped it withstand winter storms. See more lighthouse pictures.which is also

BEAUTIFUL

and has awesome tidepoolsThe Tide Pools,

Cabrillo statue and more sweet hiking

Our last stop in San Diego was a highlight for our whole family.  We got to visit my BFF Missy’s house.  I met her in kindergarten and we graduated from high school together (along with a few other fun kids), but I love catching up with her and her awesome family.  

So, I do have a beef with California, which is that nobody will ever let you use their bathroom.  It made me crazy!  Notice the water bottle that I’m carrying in every photo.  I love to hydrate which eventually leads to bathrooms, I like to go to them!  Every CVS, deli, burger joint, etc…

Image result for no public restroom signif you’re lucky, there’s like a security code  for the doorknob that they might consider giving you.

It’s craziness!  Seriously, I’m not looking to move in!

The noted exception being Missy’s house.  Her daughter took me by the hand to show me where their bathroom was.  She walked me right in, actually opened the toilet lid and showed it off proudly, like a tiny Vanna White.  Image result for vanna white turning letters wheel of fortune It was a crack up.  I think that they’re learning to clean it themselves and feeling pretty pumped about it!

Well that’s the 1st third of the SoCal Roadtrip!  I’ll see if I can’t get the rest up soon.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Schools Out For Summer

Last Day finally came.

Many adorable wee children from the neighborhood are suddenly growing up and headed off to Middle School next year.  What has happened here?!  It seems like only yesterday they were cracking me up in the half day kindergarten carpool.  Wow!

So, now that summer is here…

it

is

on!

The Van Meter Summer Reading Challenge that is.  Here is the new poster:

 

2017 Summer Family Reading Challenge

Yay!

I’ll try to report back, maybe their will be an upset this year and my daughter won’t mop the floor with the rest of us like last year🙂

 Daughter was the rainbow, poptart cat (yep, that’s totally a thing).

Hub was that nice inconspicuous A-Team van… you know,  say you’re a crack commando unit, framed for a crime you didn’t commit and you need lay low after escaping from a maximum security stockade… This van is ideal, especially if you’re averse to flying.  Who needs to fly when you’ve got this sweet ride?!

Alright, I digress, anyway, my son was the DeLorean and my mom (Pa Jane) was a little Harry Potter man, on his little broom.

Mine was the Little House on the Prairie, Schooner.  Quick sidetrack; This spring I dressed up in a Laura Ingalls era dress, (that I’d grabbed out of my mom’s closet) for my chat and chew group – 2nd graders, we were discussing Big Woods… Anyhoo, Ma Ingalls may never have experienced the joy and countless wonders of our modern activewear, but after a couple of hours in her dress, I was definitely ready for some yoga pants.

-and we’re back-

I love the summer reading challenge!  Hub isn’t a big fan, but definitely a good sport… that’s why he gets the short trail:)     Happy Reading Everybody!Image result for posters library books

 

 

 

Preparing a Place

Sunday I slept through church… attended Bedside Baptist….

That’s a little joke I picked up from college friends,

Hhmmm…Image result for thinking starting to wonder if I wasn’t in the cool crowd…

Image result for you're so square baby i don't care memeIt’s hip, right?!
Usually, I make it.  I just remember the mind body connection:  If your mind can move your feet, just have faith that your bedraggled heart may yet wake up, literally smelling the coffee with any luck.

… I’ll save the rest of my profound thoughts on that for a different post, today I’m more wrapped up in,
Why I love cleaning, and how I balance that with choosing what is best.

I’m Martha, fo sho… as in Mary sat at Jesus’ feet, but her sister Martha glared at them while she finished melodramatically unloading the dishwasher.
Sometimes it’s just not easy to choose what is best. I try to be mindful of this as I embrace my gifting for service .

Part of the joy of cleaning for me is in the idea of preparing a place.
In fact , I almost think that Summer is finally catching it’s train, because I prepared a place for Fall.

After the Screened Porch Fall Clean out.  It's not exactly Better Homes and Gardens, but I'll take it.
After the Screened Porch Fall Clean out. It’s not exactly Better Homes and Gardens, but I’ll take it.

With girls heading here to s’more it up at the Van Meters, I kissed the Indian summer goodbye by dragging small plastic pools, squirt guns and the water wiggle hose back to their waiting spot in the storage room.

No more water wiggle hose b-ball or trampoline… no more kids hiding in the bushes with squirt guns and running barefoot to plastic pools to fill them amid shrieks and flying beach balls and no more flavor ice in the freezer, because even the freezer gets to make room… bags of pumpkin chocolate chip cookies and lunch ice packs are already moving in.

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I don’t know how many of these Halcyon summers we have left, and I should let that wash over… I guess… as I bustle by inhaling the coming season and letting go of each failed goal of summer.

Even though S’more night was still 90 degrees, I’m glad I did some clearing around the screened porch and patio.  I opened up a place to peck away with Windows 7, a place for Bedside Baptist to meet, for painting and reading… and counting spiders:)

Also, The s’more fire needed a bit of help and the girls needed a place on the dining room wall for post its with their ideas for service projects.

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Retiring our summer reading solved both problems.

Seasons change and we get to make room or let it pile on, but we don’t get to stop it.