Thursday, August 25, 2016

Take 4 (Part 2)

Continuing on with our vacation.

Day 3: We took the kids on a bike ride over to Mirror Lake. We weren't planning on swimming but it was just too perfect we just had to! So the kids stripped down and played in the lake. Some of the bigger kids found a good little jumping rock. Peyton (after the rope swing debacle) was understandably hesitant. I made a deal with her that if she tried it I would buy her something from the gift shop. She sat by me for a while, built up her courage, and climbed the rock to jump. It was a proud moment for me as a mom. But, I think the thing I loved most of all about the experience was the moral support she got from her cousins. Asher was up there cheering her on and jumping up and down as she jumped (those two for whatever reason have a very special and sweet bond). And sweet Claire jumped right before her and walked her through the entire process. She waited at the bottom and hugged her as she came out of the water. It was a wonderful thing to witness. These cousins are so lucky to have each other! As a mom I am so grateful to have them for my kids too.
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 Remember in the past I mentioned how little boys always attach themself  to Peyton. Check out the blue shirt behind her. He went way out of his way to help her up the rock and then parked himself right behind her for a while. Seriously?! Luckily that girl is pretty oblivious to others in general.

After playing in the lake we walked around up there for a while before biking back. Took in the great views and built our cairns like every year. It is becoming a thing my family loves to do. Peyton is getting pretty good at it too. This trip she became quite the hiker/explorer.

One of my favorite things about camping is how dirty everyone gets. Jovie in particular can out-dirty just about anyone in the world. Quickly too. I just loved how she looked coming out of the tent every morning for breakfast. Cute camper. She was completely happy all day everyday. She would wake up and instantly start playing all around. Even if she was alone, she was never thrown off.





Day 4 we took a nice bike ride through meadows, and glades, past mountains to a beautiful waterfall.
Yosemite falls is easily the tallest waterfall I've ever seen. The ride to get there is spectacular too. While we were riding we stopped to watch 2 deer wade through the river below us. Then we happened upon one right next to the path we were riding just standing there eating. We tried to show Peyton as we rode by but she missed it. BUT, as we passed it, it started to run right along with her. I actually got super nervous because it looked like it was going to jump right over the fence into her. It stopped right at the fence, but it truly ran next to her for a couple of seconds; it was awesome. Then as we pulled to our stop on our bikes she jumped off hers screaming. At that moment I watched a big black bug of sorts fly off of her and she kept screaming and crying saying, "What happened? What was that?" It was so sad. As we looked at the back of her shoulder you could see exactly where it stung her. It must have gotten stuck in her shirt or something. It was a nasty sting and threw her off for a minute. Once she got in the cold water at the bottom of the falls though she was fine again. She is completely paranoid now about being stung, but also carries that sting as a sort of badge of honor. We teased her that between the deer and bee she really became one with the animals that day. I also have to give that girl a huge shout out with how well she did riding her bike all week long with us.
To be continued......

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Take 4 (Part 1)

Yosemite again!

One of our favorite vacation spots. Every year we simply add a new kid to the mix. This year we went when Griffin was just 3 months old, the youngest we have ever camped with (our first year we had no kids, the next time was when Peyton was 11 months, and the last time was when Jovie was 9 months). But because he was so young he basically slept the entire time we were there; truly, it felt like the entire time. He slept for 12 hours straight for the first time while we were there (at night), he went on a bike ride for the first time and basically fell asleep every time he went into the trailer. He loved and still loves being carried in the chest carrier and fell asleep on all our walks. And he even did pretty good in the life vest. He wasn't too fond of it at first and once he realized resistance was futile he fell right asleep for almost the entire 3+ hours we floated down the river.

I'm not going to lie I was having some anxiety as we prepared ourselves to go and for about the first day we were there. But once things got settled, it ended up perfect and we all had a blast! Yosemite has been dubbed my kids favorite vacation ever! (Granted they don't have much to compare it to. It also might have to do with the fact they basically ran wild with cousins the entire week we were there, with very little parental supervision).

So here is the 1st part of our week in pictures:

We took a long time getting to the actual park, making a lot of fun pit stops on the way up. What should have been about a 7 hour drive ended up being a little over 11. But it flew by because we got out so much and played. Plus the drive itself was so pretty and we left at about 5:45am, so the kids slept most of the morning.

Here we are ready to take off. The kids got into the car pumped. Peyton fell asleep pretty fast, Jovie basically talked non-stop the first 45 minutes or so, then finally conked out. And there's Griffin. My good sleepy baby.
 First stop, Erick Schat's bakery in Bishop. It's amazing and the crowds don't lie. Totally worth going.

Next stop on the way up was Mono Lake. We took in the amazing views at different areas around the lake. Touched a tufa (which we probably shouldn't, but.......), had a nice picnic lunch and played for a while on the playground and in the actual lake.
 These tufas are ancient and were once under water. It's pretty neat. Check out the link I posted above for more info on them and Mono Lake.
I have so many favorite photos from the day, it was just so picturesque.
 That one above is probably my most favorite. Dang my husband is a hottie!

Then we continued on our drive, and finally got to camp. We set up our tent, played games for a bit, were visited by some neighbors across the way who literally were glowing and hit the hay. 




Monday July 25th! PEYTON'S 6th B-DAY!!! This little girl is almost never home on her b-day, little summertime love. Last year we spent her day in San Francisco at the end of our vacation with some of Wes' siblings (here), the year before we took her to D-land, and the year before that we were driving to Yosemite again (here). She is barely 6 and has already had more adventurous birthdays then I have.
Of course we decorated our camp so when she woke up it was a surprise, and she wore a special pin all day. When she woke up (I must admit I forgot it was her b-day) and she looked at us and said, "Are you aware it's a 6 year olds birthday?!" It was so cute and funny. Boppie even put up a huge flagpole with a b-day flag on it so anyone passing by yelled out their well wishes. More on her b-day celebratories to come.

The kids all started the day becoming "Jr. Rangers" which was a must do on my little camper's lists.
 The 3 amigos... always together
 And these 2 were caught walking around holding hands a lot too!

We attempted a grandkid photo in order by age... but the baby-Broberg boys would have none of it.

Upon first glance it looks like a nice photo, with some obvious holes of course.
 This was as we tried forcing Tate and Emmett in. They wanted OUT!
 And this was Emmett in the background after he was released.

After our Jr. Rangers were done with their program we headed out for a loooong afternoon of floating the river. Sadly no photos of this due to the dangers of water with phones. But it was basically Wes dragging us along. Beautiful beautiful views around each and every bend. Peyton and Asher rode in their own tube. Jovie and Griffin slept on me most of the time. Ella was mad at the mere thought of getting wet. Carter caught a water snake. And everyone had a good time. There was a rope swing that some of the group tried out. The little b-day girl was one of them. The first girl to try it too. Sadly the rope was way too long and as she released it, she got it stuck between her legs and it dragged her back onto the dirt and rocks. Luckily only minor scrapes and bruises and hurt pride. My heart truly hurt for that sweet little brave girl. Wes also did it, and that same dang rope wrapped around his body giving him a good little welt and rope burn.

That evening we all came together for dinner and to sing to Peyton. I brought little mini cupcake muffins she could blow out. The family was oh-so-sweet and brought her presents to open. It was a pretty spectacular party! After presents we headed into "Halfdome" (AKA Curry) Village for ice cream. We told the worker it was Miss Peyton's b-day and they hooked her up with a huge ice cream cone! We all enjoyed our goodies as the sun set and the kids performed on the stage for everyone outside. (That was almost all of the kids favorite part of the week. There nightly performances.... "Come on creatures!")
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I think I'll cut this post here as I've already included too many photos. And we still have 4 fun days to go!

Monday, August 22, 2016

Busy-Free-Fun

July always tends to be our busiest (and in my world that means most fun) month. We have beach days, vacations, simple fun summer activities planned throughout the week and the days just seem to fly by.

I have a good friend whose husband is a police officer. I remember her taking her kids to the police station last year to drop off cookies to show her families appreciation for keeping our city safe. With all the controversy surrounding the police and the tragedies lately I thought it would be appropriate to do the same this year. So I called our local police station to set up a time to come in and bring cookies, and get a tour if possible. I let some of our playgroup friends know and it ended up turning into a field trip of sorts. Everyone came and brought some sort of treat and some even brought "thank you" cards. They let the kids try on some gear, and then showed off a police cruiser. Jovie got bonked on the head on accident by the officer with the heavy jacket so she wasn't too sure about that part. I called it police brutality but no one took me serious. I bet I could get the media to make a big deal out of it. I am also hoping that this was the only time my kids will have to sit in the back of a cop car; unless they run out of gas like I did once and find a nice officer willing to drive them to a gas station.

The fire department saw us standing outside waiting for our group to get there and was sweet enough to bring some fun things for the kids too.
 The police explaining their job, what to do, and how to do it in their break room.
 

It also turned out to be the same day as Peyton's golf class. So we went to golf, came straight home and picked up our cookies to bring to the police station. Had our tour with our friends and then headed straight to IHOP for their 58 cent short-stack day. One of the things both my kids love are pancakes so I couldn't resist. And luckily there was absolutely no wait. It was such a busy, fun morning!

Annnnnnnnd that same day was also "Cow Appreciation Day" at Chick-Fila. So after a few hours hanging out at home, we got all dressed up, and daddy joined us this time for our free Chick-Fila dinner. Lemme tell ya something about the Aleman family; if there is free food to be had, we are all over it!

And in my humble opinion, free fun is the best kind!