Posts Tagged ‘vacation’

Happy new year, my friends! Sorry I’ve been pretty silent on this blog in the last couple of weeks. We’ve been down in So Cal staying with Larry’s parents and I just got lazy. But now we’re back home and I’m slowly starting to ease back into the swing of things, which I hope will mean that you’ll hear from me at least twice a week again.

So a few things from our recent winter vacay…

  • We attended the semi-annual training, a week long Bible conference, this time covering Genesis chapters 12-24. It was awesome and faith infusing. I hope to share some highlights with you in next week’s Truth Tuesday post.


  • We explored some more museums in LA, the La Brea Tar Pits and the Natural History Museum. CC loved both and could not stop talking about saber tooth cats, mastodons and of course dinosaurs. The charge for admission is the same at both museums, but the Natural History museum is waaayyy bigger and in my opinion, more bang for the buck. You can get a combo ticket that gets you into both (and you don’t have to go to both on the same day, just within two weeks time), which is probably what we should have done.



  • So you know how I often complain about CC’s eating…or more like his not eating? My mother in law suggested that we take him to see her Chinese doctor, who’s a combination of a chiropractor and a chi gung master. I’m usually pretty skeptical about these kind of things, but I thought, “Hey, if it doesn’t hurt, why not?” So she made an appointment for him and we all went along. The guy put CC on the massage table, showed us how part of his spine was not aligned (which I couldn’t really see), gave him some gentle adjustments, did some special massages on his back and hands which were supposed to stimulate his appetite and told us he was cured. We were instructed to do those same massages on him once a week. For the next few days CC ate like a ravenous wolf, all without any prompting. I’m not saying I’m a believer now, but I’d happily do little finger dances and pinches up his spine once a week if it means there will be less battles at the dinner table.


  • On our winter break I started this book with CC – Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons. It was recommended to me by a friend, so I picked up a copy at Barnes and Nobles before we left for So Cal. My background and training is in teaching ESL, but surprisingly enough, I’ve never had any experience or exposure to teaching phonics. This book is broken down into 100 short lessons and you’re supposed to do one a day. The great thing is that it actually scripts out everything you’re supposed to say to the child word for word, so anyone can use it, even if you have no background in teaching. It really is amazing. Each lesson only takes us about 10 minutes and by Lesson 7, CC was already sounding out three letter words all by himself. I totally wished I had started this with him earlier.



  • We had a pretty uneventful New Year’s Eve. While Larry’s parents went out to party, we had dinner at a mediocre Japanese restaurant, came home to do laundry and pack, and then put the kids to bed. Larry and I did however each spend some time to pray personally and then together to freshly consecrate ourselves and our family to the Lord. For us, it was the best way to end the year. I was in bed and asleep by 11. 🙂

Hope you all had a wonderful end to 2013, whatever that means for you, and I’m excited and looking forward to a new year which I hope will be full of more pearls of wisdom to share with you all!



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The prompt for this week is…



This is our last precious week of summer before everyone goes back to school next week. Okay so technically only CC is going back to school (half day preschool, that is), but since my husband works with college students, I feel like we perpetually operate on the University schedule. Next week will be official back to school week for all of us.

I’ve been wanting to blog about our last summer hurrah but just haven’t gotten around to it, so I’m going to be lazy and combine it with my FMF post for the week. Last weekend we had to attend a wedding down in the Santa Cruz area so a few families we knew who were also attending the wedding decided to get together and rent a vacation house for the weekend. Four couples, six children under 3 (and a baby on the way), two nights and two beach cottages. Doesn’t that sound like a load of fun? Sure, it was chaotic but all worth it. We’ve never vacationed with other families like this before and I’m hoping this won’t be the last time. It was fun, cost effective (vacation rentals are way cheaper than hotels and we made all our own food), and so convenient that we could walk down to the beach and come home for naps whenever we needed to. And it was great for the kids to have friends to play with and for me to have much needed bonding time with other moms.







But that epic trip was not the last hurrah for us. We got home from Santa Cruz, did some laundry, slept in our beds for one night, repacked and left for a camping trip with about 30 college students. I guess technically this was a work trip for my husband and me and kids just tagged along. I was kind of hesitant about going camping after such a great but tiring weekend, but I’m so glad we did. The boys had so much fun running and crawling around and they slept better that first night in the tent than they normally would at home. It was also nice to have so many willing babysitters around so it was actually a nice break for me.

As this last week of summer draws to a close, I’m glad we made time to do some fun things as a family. Having made these memories, I feel like I can now be ready for the school year to start. I’m actually looking forward to having more structure in my days and finally unpacking the boxes piled up in our new bedroom.

What will you remember from this summer?


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The week before Memorial Day weekend, we took a vacation to Santa Cruz…our last hurrah before we are homebound for the summer preparing for the arrival of Baby #2. CC and my mother-in-law came with us, so it wasn’t exactly a babymoon, but we had a great time and got some much needed R & R. We rented a two-bedroom vacation house right by the beach and it was definitely better than staying in a hotel. We were able to make breakfast and lunch for ourselves everyday instead of having to eat out all the time and we were able to lounge in the living room when CC was taking his nap in our room.

We took a pretty slow pace for our vacation which included 3 hour naps in the afternoons for all of us. That’s just how we roll; we’re not the most exciting people in the world. That was the nice thing about going to the Santa Cruz area, there was enough to do, but not so much that we felt like we had to be on the go all the time. And everything was pretty much a short drive from where we were staying. There are a lot of great places for little kids. Sadly, we didn’t make it to the beach that often, but that’s because I keep forgetting that the water at NorCal beaches are still too cold to swim in this early in the summer.

Here are some of the highlights:

Roaring Camp Railroad – old style open air steam train. You can take a 1 hour round-trip ride into the redwood forest while the conductor narrates interesting facts about the train and the forest. CC loved it. For some reason we always seem to fit a train ride in no matter where we’re vacationing.

The Mystery Spot – basically a little hill where they built a slanted house which mysteriously defies the laws of gravity. A little hokey, but worth going to at least once for $5. Supposedly it’s the most visited place in Santa Cruz.

Seymour Marine Discovery Center – part of UC Santa Cruz. Not exactly an aquarium but just big enough to occupy a few hours in the morning. We took the family tour and CC got to touch a shark and other sea creatures and stand inside a blue whale skeleton. We packed some sandwiches and had our lunch behind the center on a bench overlooking the coast.

Santa Cruz boardwalk – awesome little amusement park on the boardwalk. Free admission, you pay for each individual ride. They actually had quite a few rides for little tots. It was the first time CC was able to go on a ride all by himself.

Capitola Beach – small, not too crowded beach walking distance from our vacation house. CC and I dipped our feet in the water but it was still way too cold. He was happier playing in the sand anyways. Larry attempted to fly a kite. We had dinner that night in Capitola at a Mexican place called El Toro Bravo. I immediately recognized it as the restaurant a friend of mine and her husband had taken me to over 10 years ago on my first visit to the Bay Area. I ordered the same thing I got then – their crab enchilada. Yum! It happened to be “Kids Eat Free” night too, so we got a free full sized chicken quesadilla for CC which we ate for lunch the next day.


Other than that, we didn’t do very much except sleep and read. I finished two novels by the time we left and Larry finished one. It was nice to spend quality time with Larry’s mom too and have an extra person around to entertain CC. After a week home, CC is still talking about it. I’m so glad we can give him these memories before his little brother comes to steal all the attention.

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Now that the semester is over and all the graduations have taken place, we are officially “on break.” A couple of months ago, when we were trying to plan what to do during Larry’s two weeks off, we had the fleeting idea of possibly visiting the East Coast. After considering all the logistics of getting plane tickets, finding places to stay and traveling with a 7-month-old, it felt like more work than we wanted to handle. Instead, we opted to stay home for our vacation and do some much needed spring cleaning.  I even made a list of all the cleaning tasks we hoped to get done for each room. Who was I kidding? It’s now the second week of our “vacation” and we haven’t done a speck of cleaning.

We have, however, taken some interesting field trips. Our first one was to the Oakland Zoo, where CC had his first experience of seeing real elephants, giraffes and chimpanzees. The zoo is small, but has a lot of interactive exhibits for little children. My favorite was the petting barn, where you can pet the pygmy goats and brush the sheep. We got a year membership, so we’ll definitely go back again soon.

Our second day trip was to the Charles M. Schulz (creator of Peanuts) museum in Santa Rosa. This museum is a gem! I never really read Peanuts comics growing up (or any comics, for that matter), but after going to the museum, I am now a Peanuts fan. The simplicity of the art, the complexity of each character, the classic and timeless humor…Charles Schulz was a genius. Who else would have thought to write a comic strip about kids and a dog, and incorporate deep and heavy grown-up themes like unrequited love and war. Like the nerds we are, Larry and I tried to read through every comic strip in every exhibit. The museum itself is very well done and relatively new. The architecture is nice, with indoor and outdoor sculptures, and the admission fee includes a short video about the museum (which you watch in a small room with bean bags on the floor), and free screenings of different short Charlie Brown movies that are playing throughout the day.

Today was another fun day out. I left Larry at home and had a play date with my friend Michelle and her two kids at Play Cafe in the Oakland Hills. Brilliant business idea – open a place where adults can gab and drink coffee, while the kids play to their hearts content. The place was divided into little rooms – a small play kitchen with aprons and appliances, a room with dress up clothes and mirrors, a room with tables and chairs and coloring books, a little train room, and my favorite – a small plastic ball pit. Of course, CC is not quite old enough to appreciate all that, but he did enjoy the little floor area they have for the little ones since it has more toys than he has at home. And since they don’t charge for pre-crawlers, all I had to pay for was my mocha.

Maybe little daily field trips is the kind of break we need. No need to make big travel arrangements, find accommodations, deal with jet lag, or to alter CC’s schedule too much. And I’m discovering great places to go in our own backyard. I have a feeling we’re never going to get to that cleaning list. Oh well.

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