Back to School 2017

As is typical for us it seems, the boys had an opportunity to switch schools yet again this year, but three schools in three years is just too much to ask from them. Especially since this was part of the reason we exited the military in the first place; to grow roots and make lifetime friends. So, I am super happy to announce, they will be returning to their Charter school in Cottonwood!! And in case you missed it in the hubbub of my earlier ramblings, we have moved to Cottonwood too! This mom’s circle is almost complete.

My adorable school boys. They each picked new shoes for school this year. John’s have flames on the side. Brendon’s favorite color is green…you might be able to tell?

This year we have a 3rd and 1st grader and here are the stats, which I seem to forget each year. But not his year!

Brendon: 51.5” height / 53 lbs; likely to be the most talkative in his class, but also (fingers crossed) one of the most well-mannered and helpful. Brendon hopes he loves this year’s teacher as much as the last (her sister). She has big shoes to fill.

John: 44” height / 37 lbs; Most likely to sneak an accessory of some sort to school. His current favorite, his headphones – worn around his neck, in case he doesn’t want to hear something he can put them on; we have banned them from school, so he’s settled for the hat. Mr. Quiet and cheerful.

What are the chances the First Day of School is the day of the Solar Eclipse?! Pretty amazing. No tears at the drop off from John this year. It’s mixed emotions for his parents; he’s growing up for sure. They both are.

In closing – this Summer was all about the dab, snaps with thumbs up, accessories and playing UNO.


Return to Monterey

For our last family vacation before Hubby started work (Yes, he’s coming out of retirement people because retired people don’t build houses!), we took a long weekend trip to Monterey.

My hubs is a California native and yet, already, with this trip, my boys have seen more of California than my hubby ever did and they’ve only be residents for two years. Ha! What we can say? We like exploring in small bits. Monterey came as an idea from my youth. When I was in Sixth grade, our class went on an overnight camping trip to Monterey. What do I remember about this trip? There were tidepools, my group slept in a pop-up trailer, (which I wish we had now), the aquarium, and riding the bus while the boys were blasting Beastie Boys from a boom box in the back. Those were the days. How that bus driver never lost their mind I’ll never know. (JV- if you’re reading this remind me to tell you about Ms.Gruel’s take on that trip…I keep forgetting)

If you think about it, this was a group of twelve year olds. Not an eight year old and a six year old. There were many moments where I thought, what was I thinking? But also some wonderful memories too.

Lodging: Being retired military has its perks. We were able to get a three room suite on the Presidio of Monterey for a fraction of the cost of a hotel on the economy. The boys had their own room and TV!!! (they love having a dedicated television with cable; they do not have either at home). The Presidio is very small and quiet for a military post, but there was still playgrounds, a PX and never ending homey feelings. We don’t miss being in the military as much as we miss being around it.

PFT Anyone? Just me and the deer on the field. So pretty and pristine.

Completely clear at the top of the hill. This was right around our lodging near the bottom-ish of the hill. I went straight up hill for the first of my run, so it would all be downhill for the end. Got lost in the fog and had to run uphill to get back. *FAIL* I loved the trees of Monterey.

The safety of the Presidio allowed me to get up the first morning and take a nice run around post. I needed it after an almost 6 hour car ride (thank you Garmin and traffic) the day before. The boys were troopers, but let me say, we have since decided we are not going in the car longer than three hours as a family again for a long while if we can help it.

Aquarium: The Monterey Bay Aquarium will ruin you for any other aquarium. Hands down the best. (The BEST Jerry, the best!) Fortunately and NOT, this was hubby’s first visit. So much to see, yet two little minions who kept darting here and there in excitement, meant we couldn’t enjoy much for long. With the large crowds I was so nervous one of the boys would go missing; after an hour I was maxed out. Not to mention the lack of available water fountains not helping the situation. So all in all, it was a very enchanting and expensive hour. Now what do I remember most about this aquarium 30 years ago? There was a long hallway for an entrance and a lady with an accent desperately trying to find the bathroom. Oh man, pre-teen girls are ruthless. My girlfriend Javonna and I laughed about it for days (probably months). Even my family knew the story as I retold it in fits of laughter when I returned. It has been quoted tirelessly through the years, “I don’t want to leave yet, I just want to use the bathroom”

John’s face says it all.

Tide Pools: Ya, that didn’t happen. We did make sure to visit the beach and do our yearly dip into the Pacific. Oh how I miss the ocean. So do the boys. We could’ve spent the day at the cloudy beach with them running up and down the sand dunes and they’d have loved it. Probably more than the aquarium.

Other items of note: There is a charming free trolley that runs around town; we enjoyed riding that. Easy on and offs. We visited the oldest church in California and the Denis the Menace playground. The weather was PERFECT. I can’t tell you how nice it was going from triple digit heat to sunny and 65. It was so nice we ended up walking roughly Six miles in one day. Packing the boys at times as well for a bit of cross-training.

Wave dancers.

Must do – fountain in the lion’s mouth. Hubby remembered one from his childhood at the Oroville playground. Cottonwood doesn’t have such things…at least not that I remember.

We rode the trolley as close as we could get and then walked to the Oldest Masonry church in California. Which turns out is still “open for business”, which we listed to on the outdoor speakers.

Eats: We had joked about when we lived on the East coast and would look up places to eat that had been featured on Food Network’s “Diners, Drive-ins and Dives”. Only to find ourselves in one accidentally. Ha! What are the chances?! I might also point out, the local Cheesecakes could take some tips from this place. If you name your restaurant Cheescakes, you might want to put those bad boys in a case right by the entrance to lure people in and you might also want to make some really good cheesecakes. Like beyond over the top deliciousness. Cheesecakes of Redding, you need to go on a research trip. Rosine’s has you by a mile! (just click the blue text to see what I mean)

Food and a Photo bomb. I heard last week on the radio, pictures of food were “okay” to post for vacation photos. Toes in the sand a definite no, no. So here is the food. I’ll save the toes for the next trip. 😉

The drive home was just as long as the drive down, only with four or five added stops. I lost count. Ugh. It was so painful!! We did stop at Granzella’s in Willows and ran into some friends. I do love when that happens. I don’t know when we’ll be back to Monterey (Any chance there are flights between Redding and Monterey?), but safe to say, it will be when the boys are MUCH older.

Family selfie on the beach.