Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Bonding With Nature

Camping July 2010

Just outside of Flagstaff, where the air is clean and the temperatures are cool. And downright cold at night. Even in July. Talk about brrrr.

But first we had to get there. So pack up the husband and wife and kiddos. Oh and the camping gear. Hopefully we don't forget anything. Anyone want to guess what we forgot?

And we're off...

All Aboard!!!

And 3 hours later, we're here! It had actually been raining a lot in the week before, and since the Matrix doesn't have 4 wheel drive (I know, right), we had to be cautious about where we stayed lest we get stuck in the mud. So now that we found the spot, time to set up camp.

I'm not doing anything

And Nathan helped a lot. He actually built the campfire ring. Okay, no he didn't, but he did enjoy playing with our mini pick-axe.

Hi Dad

Poor Sonoma, we finally get back out into nature and she's too tired to explore. So the next best thing, sleep!

A perfect spot for napping

Right by the fire to stay warm in the 80 degree temp. Since everything around was pretty moist it took a while for my Survivorman skills to kick in, but eventually we got the fire going. However, it did take constant managing to keep it going. Especially when it started raining. But luckily it was only a brief rain, but with more clouds moving in, we figured we should get dinner cooked while we could.


And dinner was EXCELLENT! A little lemon pepper chicken and a veggie dish - green beans, peppers, potatoes. Cooking over the campfire, caveman style. Cavemen used pots and pans right?

Real men cook with fire

It also was a great time for a little father/son bonding. Teach him how to make a fire. Teach him how to grill. You know the basics so he's prepared when he heads out into the real world.

Chillaxin' after dinner

Time for S'mores

You can't have a camping trip without S'mores. And apparently, Laura picked up a new "recipe" for making S'mores. A new "method" from someone from New Jersey of all places. I mean what do Jersey people know about camping? I've seen Jersey Shore. No, no, I haven't. I don't watch that show.

So after dinner and ghost stories, we did our traditional bedtime routine with Nathan, without all the normal routine parts.

Camping buddies

Let's see what we can find in the woods

Go take a hike! What could be better than waking up in the morning and heading out for a morning hike? Be at one with nature. Smell the fresh air. Enjoy all the greenness. Maybe see some wildlife or...


Seriously, we were almost EATEN last night. OMG. We could have been someone's dinner. A big someone based on the size of the bone pile. OR A PACK OF SOMEBODIES!! OMG I hadn't thought about that. We were surrounded!!! No Escape!

Good thing this is just a one night trip.

The Fam

Enjoying the car ride home

Until next time...

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

California Love

Woohoo!!! VACATION!!!

Yes we managed to go on vacation this summer. Originally we were going to hit up Boston, piggy-backing on a work trip, but that didn't pan out so we decided that San Diego was the spot for us. The only issue was would Nathan last 6-7 hours in the car? That answer and more, after the break.

Po-dunk nowhere

A long story short (just about the car trip), Nathan was AWESOME!! Sleeping or just being happy baby for 90% of the car ride. We did have to stop for a few breaks, but that was to be expected, with the lunch break in Wellton, AZ. What? You haven't heard of the huge metropolis that is Wellton? Hmmm, neither did we until it showed up right there along-side the highway. Using the (new) trusty Blackberry, we found out that Chuck's Stage Stop is known the world over for their small town cooking. But, now that we are safely outside their "town's" jurisdiction, DO NOT EAT THERE.

Skipping ahead a bit, we made it safely to our hotel and rested for our big day at Sea World.

Shamu and Friends

After a wonderful greeting from Shamu, the park was our playground. We tried to get Nathan to pet the sea stars, but he wasn't having any of that, so we headed to the Shamu show.


We were wondering if Nathan would even realize he was surrounded by large animals, but he definitely enjoyed the shows.

From Nathan's view point

Jolly good show, eh?

That's a big fish

This is my favorite picture from the trip. This is also where Nathan picked up the word whale - why can't people watch their language around kids?

Dad, it's a whale. You don't need to point it out.


On to THE BEACH...

Future's so bright...

On day 2, we went to Torrey Pines beach and met up with some friends who also have a one year old. It was Nathan's first beach trip and he seemed to enjoy it, though the ocean took a bit getting used to.

Nathan organizing the sea shells

Nathan really didn't care too much for the sea shells. He just picked a few from mommy's hand and placed them back on the beach so he could get back to digging. I think we may need to get a sandbox for him.

...and tidy up the A a bit...

Nathan did a wonderful job spelling his name, which is weird seeing as how he can't yet say his name. We think he may be a child prodigy.

and done. A masterpiece!

Or a really gifted artist.

Laura and Nathan

Or just a really cute, squishy baby.


Time to make the sandcastle

Nathan and Aiden playing

Trying to convince the babies to knock down the castle

So just before we departed the beach, we tried to get the kids to knock down the sand castle - a term I use loosely to describe the mound of sand with no real shape the we created. Seeing as how Nathan loves it when he stacks blocks and knocks them over, I didn't think it would be too hard. But no. Apparently they either really loved our castle, or they were afraid of whatever was swimming in the moat that surrounded it.

Sandcastle: 1; Babies: 0

Up next, Balboa Park
ooo, a fountain to play in

Actually this preceded the beach, but I didn't want to reorder all the pictures.

Balboa park has really nice gardens and a bunch of museums and other activities, perfect for a leisurely day with a one-year old who just wants to run around and jump in a fountain. I'm not sure where he picked up fountain, but that kid is drawn to them like a magnet. It must be all those splash pad trips that mommy takes him on.

Balboa Park


Balboa park even had a choo-choo, so of course we had to ride it. They also had a merry-go-round, but Laura and I thought it was a bit to fast for Nathan so we opted out of that ride.

And one last beach trip before the 7 hour drive home

Five days of vacation and we returned more exhausted than when we left. But then, that is usually how our vacations roll.