Another school year DONE.

Friday marked the official last day of school for the boys. Kindergarten Graduation was Tuesday, last day of instruction on Thursday and Water Fun day on site Friday. What a great end to a wonderful year.

I’ve said it before, but it bears repeated. We have been so blessed by this school. Brendon has really been a trooper, three schools in three years. I guess for that matter this is also John’s third year in a different school too; It just seems more about Brendon since his two previous years have not been stellar. I understand it’s hard to teach a class of students with varying skill sets, but if you are not up to the task, it is time to find a new career. I could NOT do what they do. No way.

Bren last day

It’s hard to tell here, but Brendon has really sprouted this year and his appetite…oh my. I guess this is what they were talking about when they said boys really like to eat.

John last day

Who could guess, just moments before John was in a complete fit about having to wear regular clothes and get his hair combed? So bright eyed. We did this photo on Kinder grad night as I knew there would be no getting a photo on the last day of school for him.

This year was such a breath of fresh air for all of us. Cottonwood Creek Charter is like the Evergreen of my youth. The teachers really want to be there, they love what they do and are invested in trying to reach each student where they are. At least from my outside perspective. I only helped in Brendon’s class once this year. Up until that point, I had assumed the school was 99% full of high academic achievers, given the stellar online ratings. I was really surprised to find that was not the case. The difference is the involvement of the families. You have to truly want your kids at CCC to keep them there.

There are no busses. No school lunches. No afterschool care and most shockingly, No site classes on Fridays. This school demonstrates the success parent involvement combined with teacher enthusiasm brings. It is a gem.


Photo by Roxi.


Four generations of graduations.

Brendon was most shocked to have a teacher that doesn’t “yell” to get her point across. He even stated he missed her over the Christmas Break. I remember that feeling about my grade school teachers and to this day, cherish those early school memories.

John has found two great buddies, who he may be besties with through 8th grade; maybe even beyond. His teacher was fantastic at making him feel loved, even in those early weeks when escaping was his key focus. The last day of school, John sprinted to get to class to see if his teacher was back from being sick. A complete 180.


Photo by Roxi. I love how well coordinated they are. Totally by accident.


Have you tried Rita’s yet?! If not, you are missing out on some delicious treats. Hubby’s brother and girls gave us a gift cert to this place and we thought the perfect time to use it would be end of school celebration. So super good! Although, the pineapple (my selection) was probably the least tasty. Black Cherry…uber delicious.

Now what will next school year bring? I’d like to think more of the same! But you know, we still have not found a house to rent or even a decent purchase in Cottonwood, in our 8 months of diligent searching. At least it’s Summer now and there are camps close to our current rental. The search continues…


For a bit of video fun, click the photo.


A camping we will go

The weather has been vacillating so much lately; we’re in that late stage of Spring, where you think it might not get to 100 degrees this year, but in the California valley, it’s just a fact. It WILL get over a 100 degrees this year. Several times. The first time it threatens to get close – high 90s – it feels as if you’ve instantly landed in the middle of the Sahara, whereas July when it’s been over 110 for several days on end, if it dips into the 90s, you think you might have to grab a sweater.


This view never gets old.

This weekend was that high 90s weekend. And of all the timing, we made good on our year long, well overdue, promise to camp on the Property with the boys. Vance was still working full time last Summer, despite asking for part time, which led to many delays on the camping adventure and the boys finally settled for camping in the backyard. As Facebook told me this morning, it was exactly a year ago. Fancy that.

Now that hubby is our home person, threatening to go back to work, we have lots more time for adventuring on the weekends. This was it. The weekend before the last week of school. I can’t believe the school year is nearly over already. Isn’t it fitting that hubby would go back to work just as we get to Summer break?! But, I digress. The camping.


Long live the Roadrunner. For some reason all the years in the bag have made the underside of the rainfly sticky. Now we’re debating if we need a new tent, but first maybe we should start camping more than once a decade.

We decided to make a late start due to the heat and headed South late in the afternoon. A stop at the 4H tri-tip drive-thru on our way, where thankfully my sis and brother in law were running the stand. Otherwise, we’d have ended up with a whole tri-tip and no way to slice it. This year they changed the sides and man oh man was it good. Corn on the cob, garlic bread, ranch beans and tri-tip. Anyhow, the heat could not be avoided and by the time we had one tent up, mattress blown and bags in, the boys were down to underwear only. Ha!


See the expression on Brendon’s face. It closely resembles the sigh from hubby when I pulled out the camera. What?! Documentation people!

After both tents were up, unearthing our tent from its pre-Brendon cocoon, we decided to celebrate. By celebrate I mean, sit in the shade and drink cold drinks.


McNulty Base Camp. Under the watchful eye of Shasta in the distance.


Dinner #2.

I can’t say I did much adventuring. I was more like the camp host. The boys went off with hubby to look for tracks and general mayhem. Not too much you can get into in an oversized subdivision, but they had a good time.

For dinner we had the previously mentioned tri-tip. Then later, for second dinner we had hot dogs. John was an eating machine! And of course after all that we had S’mores. Yum, yum, yummy. I stumbled on a new recipe for s’mores awhile back – instead of using chocolate pieces which don’t like to melt (although, this weekend, they probably would’ve been pudding in mere minutes), we use chocolate frosting on the graham crackers. Works so well!


Prepped and ready. See that frosting??


The finished product.

The night. Well, it was a very long night. I started getting a monster headache right before we went to bed. Probably due to not enough water, too much wine and sugar. Whatever the reason, it made for a terrible night’s sleep. The boys seemed to do alright. Minor shuffling about. The heat never really subsided until the wee hours, so by the time daylight broke, we were all up and not feeling very rested.

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The boys ran about, up and down the hill a couple times, we had breakfast and broke camp. Thankful we were only 30 minutes from home. Both boys said it was a super time sleeping in their tent on the hill and of course all thoughts of uncomfort replaced by dread of unpacking. By mid-day, mommy was in much need of a nap. And that’s just what she did.

And a few random extras:


How happy was hubby I got him this chair for his birthday last month? When I gave it to him, he looked uninterested, but let’s just say that all changed this weekend!



My big little one. Lassen in the distance.


Me with the little little one.