Pack Yo Bags- A Humorous Reminder to Woosa in Parenting

I’m going to preface this post by saying though I enjoy writing when the mood hits, I don’t consider myself a writer. I hardly ever write and when I do it’s mostly making lists! That being said I sometimes have a crazy idea pop up in the grey matter between my ears. Ok, truthfully the crazy ideas pop up a lot. Ask my husband. No, maybe don’t. The stories that man could tell. Yikes! Off topic there. When the ideas/inspiration to write does come up I don’t usually have the time/remember/lose interest etc. before I get anything put down.

Today I thought I would just quickly write up whatever came to mind (not really any editing, so please don’t judge too harshly my literary friends) and see if I could make someone laugh, crack a smile, or smirk at my pain or just knowing someone else out there feels yours. I wish I could have written this up with stick figures ala Diary of a Wimpy Kid style, as that’s how I was envisioning it.

Anyhoo, I hope you are able to find a little comic relief in the daily grind today.

xo, Katrina

PACK YO BAGS

The Life & Times of a Supergirl Flying By the Seat of Her Pants

     Let’s catch up with Supergirl who is once again flying by the seat of her pants, sparkly cape flowing as her hair swirls and billows out around her head like a creature unto itself, perfect nails, dressed in clothes that aren’t yoga pants, freshly showered with a beaming smile ready to bestow on her many angelic offspring ….wait who am I kidding? Let’s just stick with the flying by the seat of her pants intro.

   She is busy. Busy trying to answer pesky non-stop questions that her Superlittles have firmly decided is their sole purpose in life is to invent for her to answer, while she busily tries to complete some other loudly screaming task. She does her best to be intentional about her responses, but honestly half of them are gonna be along the lines of “Uhuh” “Brilliant darling” or a faint smile with a glazed over expression, depending on if she has had coffee yet or not. Or green tea or whatever it is she has had time to get or remembered to make. And if she doesn’t  produce the desired response Superfour year old darling will start telling her the correct thing to say and to “repeat after him” Sometimes it’s just easier to just listen to a four year old. At least he gets a kick out of telling her what’s what. Anyways, she’s busy.

   Busy dusting. Dusting? Who needs that, its a new writing surface! “Come, darling. Let’s practice writing your letters” Yes, yes, that’s the way ‘cleaning’ is done’ and boy how ’bout that laundry! Gosh, durn it. It’s an identity unto itself, a giant ass daily Goliath! She hears its roaring rumbling from all corners of the house, in every room ready to pounce when she really doesn’t have the time to deal. Its a regular dirty word in most households. MAKE IT STOP! Oh PLEASE make it stop?!

   Snap, pinch. slap. SLAP! Snap out of it Supergirl. You are blessed to HAVE clothes, clean water, soap, machines that actually DO the washing for you with the push of a button. “True, true” says Supergirl “Sorry, I got off on a rant”

   On top of juggling life’s many balls while glamorously flying by the seat of her pants Supergirl often forgets to mediate on positive thoughts, marinade in good vibes and send love-filled Namaste’s in all directions. Thankfully, Supergirl watches ‘How to Calm Yourself Down From an Anxiety Attack’ on YOUTUBE, pins mantras and motivational quotes galore and has a fiercely loyal bestie that showers her with friendship and kindness.

   “In this moment, I will react with peace” Repeat several times.

   “Boys, you leave for camp soon. Why haven’t you packed? I’ve been telling you to pack all week.” Supergirl hears her frantic voice border lining on hysteric tones, feels the blood pressure rising and can see grey hairs sprouting before her very eyes.

   “In this moment, I will react with peace” Repeat as needed.

   “Lovelies!” ” Wonderful Gentleman!” “Oh, my Sweet children?” (It’s important to project positive images onto them, right? That is, when you remember to) Supergirl calls out in a lovely adjusted melodic voice. “Dad, is now walking to the car to bring you to camp. I know you’ve gotten packed as I have asked. Right?”

    “Yes! Yes, of course Mother (aka: The Nagging Tyrant)” the Superteens (Of which Supergirl has 3. OMG, that was not great planning right there. Do yourselves a favor and stagger the emotional stress and trauma people. You’re welcome) huff and puff accompanied with much eye rolling. Which basically translates into ‘Gee gosh. What’s her pushy problem?!’ ‘But, I’m a wee bit smarter than to say THAT out loud. I KNOW what the Kraken is. I exclusively and extensively read adventure fantasy and have no intention of unleashing that beast here and now. Besides, I’m waaaay too busy finishing this game to challenge that monster at the moment.’

  “It’s all ready by the front door” Superteens chorus.

   “Oh finally! I DO have awesome children. All my hard work of patiently, nope scratch that…consistently showing them how, is now paying off. My little men are blossoming into responsible young adults ready to take on the world and prosper.” Inner delightful thoughts dance through Supergirl’s mind as she happy dances her way in the direction of the front entry, because no matter how much you WANT to imagine the best about your children, there is always a teensy tiny floating mind box that must be checked. Ok, it might just be Supergirl’s mind.

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The sight that greets her. Awesome.

  “In this moment, I will react with…laughter and a photo posted to Instagram”

    The Superteens went on to spend a very cold weekend visit in the mountains due to not thinking ahead and packing correctly. The above picture was EXACTLY how they packed and  how they intended to bring their items.

   I guess Supergirl’s hoarse throat, high blood pressure and grey hairs were wasted in the end. Moral of the story: Woosa parents. They will learn…once they get tired of freezing. If you’re lucky they will also see all your freakish ways as an expression of love and care. Eventually. Maybe. Don’t quote me.

   Now close your eyes. Take a deep breath. Repeat after me, “In this moment, I will react with peace”

   It’s really all YOU can do.

   So hang on to your coffee as you fly by and try to enjoy the ride. You got this Supergirl!

   Love, A Fellow Supergirl

   PS: Please realize this pep talk is aimed at moi. I can’t fool my family that I react this chilled enough of the time, but hey being more mindful translates into actions right? Eventually.🙂 Also, I would not be able to fly along without the support of a pretty awesome Super-Man, who is cool, calm and collected when his fan girl is having meltdown moments. Yup. Yup. He’s the ying to my yang and oh so patient. Huge, gushy adorations for that Man. Much thanks Babe.

  

Memory Keeper: This Week in December and January

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A little fellow in his happy place. Cali beach life is in his blood

Happy Belated New Year Everyone. Once again, I’m playing catch up with keeping the blog updated. Sorry! Now you have to bear with me over posting cutsey pictures of the family. Ok, here it goes…

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Throwback to Christmas morning. Playing with new toys and glued to the new books. Huge thanks to Grammpy, Grammy and all the Canadian Uncles, Aunts and cousins for blessing the kids with gifts

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Did the Cozy Dell hike again with these two. I must say Azure has started his fair share of complaining and lobbying for breaks

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Left: The littles are so happy on the rare occasions their big brothers have time to spend with them

Center: Taking advantage of a no school day to go out for donuts. First time ever!

Right: Spent a couple hours with these two. The first time Brecks had been to a mall play place. I was so terrified they would smash into the teeny tiny kids toddling around

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Hiking in the Santa Monica mountains on New Years

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Whelp, that’s it for today. See ya in a couple weeks

Memory Keeper: Happy Holidays 2015

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Happy New Year Family and Friends!

Here are some extra photos from our Christmas photo session, feel free to skip if you aren’t related to us. It’s totally cool. Check out the backdrop, Hubbs made us hike a mile to this location in the Los Padres National Forest. Yes, we are a bit nutsy! It’s ok, another excuse to get some exercise in. Before I get all the comments about us being down one kid and why I’m not in the photos I’ll answer that now. One kid did not care to participate in this outing and as for myself, well it’s difficult enough to round everyone up to just get this done already. Anyhoo, enjoy seeing the monkeys as they get bigger and more handsome

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The biggest Monkey. Looking handsome and reasonably happy

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And we get a smile!

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He doesn’t like my trying to ‘pose’ him

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After many admonitions to ‘not squeeze so tight Azure’ we got a decent shot

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Love close ups of their handsome faces

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Monkey #2

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Climbing all over and making tons of noise! Cougar control, right?

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I had to include these…it sums up his personality so well

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Cutie face of Monkey #4

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‘Climbing on the rocks is more interesting. Get this done already’

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Having a challenged hair day, but still cute

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Awww! Daddy and the two babies

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Tiny Monkey #5 in his fancies

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‘Ok,. One smile!’

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‘Catch me if you can’

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Have a blessed New Year All!

Family Fun Adventure: Bryce Canyon National Park

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Ahhh, Bryce Canyon! TOO beautiful to describe and the photos don’t do it justice. Mostly, I run around trailing kids and reach for the camera for a quick shot, barely looking through the view finder🙂

Continuing where my last post left off, the next day brings us to Bryce Canyon National Park. Warning: Lots of pictures ahead, not too many tips though due to the weather

Day #3: We booked two nights in the town of Panguitch, Utah and again, woke up early Saturday for breakfast that was included in the room prices. We headed out at around 7 and made it into the park on a very cold and snowy day. All the hiking trails were closed due to the weather, but the viewpoints were being cleared for the day

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We started out parking near Sunrise Point and walked the snowy Rim Trail to Sunset and on to Inspiration Points. The day started nice and sunny. Because of the weather we couldn’t make any trips into the canyons, which I can imagine would be quite incredible. The part of the trail between Sunrise and Sunset Points are a pretty easy walk and the kids had so much fun with the snow

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Cole (age 14) following the trail beside the steep drop offs

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Daddy keeping the tiniest turkey back from the edge. See that pebbly ridge? Yup, a snow covered slope down from there!

 Not gonna Lie, the trail was scary with little kids. The trail itself was mostly wide, but the steep drop offs coupled with the slippery conditions as well as overly excited children, made for nervous parents. We each stuck close to and mostly held the younger kids hands. Of course, being mom, I constantly reminded the older kids to be extra careful. They were sliding, running, throwing snowballs, and I just wanted them to be safe

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 The contrasting colors were vibrant and unbelievably stunning

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Winter wonderland definitely added a extra fun element

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At the first lookout the kids are relatively happy and wow, they are smiling!

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They couldn’t stop themselves the entire time from making snow ‘Angels’

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My older boys are very uncooperative for taking pictures most of the time, so they are pretty rare shots

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I must say I love hiking in the woods and by rivers. It’s so relaxing to be out in this type of nature. Normally, we hike the dry chaparral of California in the roasting heat, so this is a welcomed change

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Proof that there were parents along for the trip. Well a parent and an Eskimo🙂

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After about 3 pm the kids were cold and tired. We headed back to the hotel for a some vacation snacking, T.V. watching and just chilling

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After they warmed up and dried off the little boys, Alvin and Daddy made a snowman behind the hotel

Day #4: Woke up early and loaded the van for making our way home today. For some reason (maybe a religious thing as it was Sunday) even though the hotel  (Days Inn booked on priceline) advertised breakfast at 6:30, as we enjoyed the previous day, they did not have anything out on Sunday. In fact no one was in the lobby and it was all locked up, I tried calling the front desk, waiting etc. Finally, we just had to leave our keys in the rooms and go. That was kind of a bummer as I was counting on that being a big meal to keep the kids happy at the start of a long drive. Thank goodness for back up snacks and a couple hours later we arrived in Vegas in time for another buffet lunch to make up for it. So all was not lost. I will say that room service was very kind the day before in helping us charge our dead battery to get us on our way and the breakfast was one of the nicest we have had at simple lodgings

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One final pic of enjoying the view. I can’t wait to visit again and hike down into the canyon trails.

What are your top favorite National Parks?

Family Fun Adventure: Zion National Park

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Hey Lovelies! Hope you are enjoying a wonderful holiday season and making fantastic memories. For once I have pictures a plenty for this post. The scenery was SO stunning and I found myself snapping a photo every couple of steps. Hubbs also took many of the pictures I’ve included in this post on his phone. Everywhere you look is postcard perfect. Come along with us on a picture journey through Zion National Park

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We were kinda of on the fence about taking this trip at Thanksgiving break, because we weren’t sure if the weather would be fun for us Cali natives to hike in. We were extremely lucky in that we lucked out both days with pretty clear weather and views for both days that we visited Zion National Park and Bryce Canyon National Park.  Here’s is the itinerary we followed for our 4 day trip to these beautiful Southern Utah parks and a few tips. Enjoy!

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Happy to be outta the van and ready to hike

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Day #1: Woke up early and started the day long drive out to the Zion area. We broke up our journey in Vegas for a Thanksgiving buffet lunch, thankfully we made it in before the huge dinner crowds. The meal ended up being about what we would’ve spent on a home cooked special meal, so even though it was not an inexpensive meal, it still worked out ok. We learned that if you sign up for a players card (you don’t need to play) at the casino that the buffet is attached to, you can receive a couple bucks off each meal. After the lunch pit stop headed on out to the town of Springdale, Utah, which is the last town outside of Zion Canyon. Since we weren’t sure we would make it all the way there and not just stay in Vegas, we hadn’t booked rooms. We arrived only to find rooms were going for $175-$200 per room (of the two places we stopped at. The cheaper one was a locally owned type place and the other was a large chain) NOT fun! Since we need two rooms for our crowd of 7, we hopped on the wifi in the parking lot and booked more reasonable rooms at $126 (for two rooms) back the way we came in the town of Hurricane. Since it was a holiday weekend we were very fortunate to not be stranded, everything was pretty packed out. Needless to say we booked the next nights rooms in the next city as soon as we checked in that night

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Day #2: Got up early, packed up, had free breakfast included at the hotel and were on the road at about 7:30. One really great feature about this park is the bus that takes you to a bunch of scenic views and trail heads. We optioned to buy the inter agency pass, which is an annual pass for all the National Parks at $80, instead of the one day pass for $30. Since we were going to visit Bryce Canyon the next day and usually make it to 1-2 other parks during the year, we just went for it. After entering the park, we parked the van and got some warm clothes on. We then boarded the bus and stayed on for the entire loop, to get a feel for the area and sights. The bus driver and recorded information tells a little history of the park and other interesting facts. We spotted lots of mule deer the entire day which was extra fun for the littles

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Back on the bus we headed to the end of the loop to the Riverside Walk at the Temple of Sinawava bus stop. This easy 2.2 mile walk (the park website says it takes about 1 1/2 hours) takes you to the entrance of the Narrows hike, which takes you through the canyon walking in the river. How awesome is that! Of course that 8 mile hike is just too long for our littles at this age. But we got to watch lots of waterproof clad folks headed up that way. What we loved about this park was the up close feel. Walking between the canyon cliffs were pretty amazing. Hubbs and I agreed we preferred it to viewing, say the Grand Canyon from the rim

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The Riverside Walk Trail is very easy for all ages, no climbing and its a paved, easy to follow path. Very enjoyable to not have to worry about someone falling off the edge. We were among many visitors to the park that weekend, plenty of people around but it was not too overcrowded. We were very happy to see lots of fellow ‘home grown’ tourists out in nature enjoying our beautiful country

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 Azure at the mouth of the Narrows Trail

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Silly fun by the Virgin River on the Riverside Walk Trail

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Check out all those gorgeous cliffs. The colors were stunning!

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After the this hike we stopped off at the van for lunch and boy was the parking situation crowded! At least 10 people asked us if we were leaving, and lots of other people were circling trying to find parking. Good thing there is a shuttle pick up in the town of Springdale too if you don’t manage to snag a spot in the park. After lunch the buses were so crowded (they are taking all park visitors around as no private vehicles are allowed) we decided to walk from the Zion Canyon Visitor Center to the Zion Human History Museum which was a short mostly flat, paved walk which is part of the Pa’rus Trail

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By the afternoon it was getting a little foggy and we were glad we brought winter jackets. Yeah, I know we are cold sensitive Californians

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We were spoiled by the beautiful fall colors and river views

After checking out a bit of the museum and Azure picking up his Junior Ranger booklet, we divided forces. A couple of less than outdoor enthusiastic big boys took littlest brother for a much needed nap and settled in the van with snacks and books

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The smaller troop of Azure (age 7) and our oldest, Alvin (age 16) were still happy to accompany Mom and Dad for another approximately 2 hour hike that was a little more challenging.  First we made the short walk on the Weeping Rock Trail. Nothing too amazing. The whole park for me was all about the views, rather than the ‘sites’ to arrive at

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The Kayenta Trail has a great view of the Virgin River from a height

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We walked around that huge mountain following the river

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The Lower Emerald Pools Trail leads through a canyon crack. COOL!

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The Kayenta Trail, which starts at The Grotto bus stop is more of a hike. It’s not paved, there are steep drop offs and the trail is a little narrow it places. I was glad that littlest brother (age 4) sat this one out, while he could have made the hike, we would have had to move slower and held his hand to feel comfortable. The trail continues on to the Lower Emerald Pools Trail. Maybe, it was just the time of year (Late November 2015) there wasn’t much water in the pools or coming over the falls, it wasn’t very interesting or too picturesque to me. But the views of the hike were totally amazing and we enjoyed every bit of it

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Azure took part of the Junior Ranger program and was sworn in and given a badge by the ranger after completing a Zion National Park booklet. He was real excited to earn another badge after receiving one at the  Grand Canyon National Park earlier this year

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At Zion we felt like we got to see a good portion of the park and didn’t feel like we were missing out on most of the sites/things to do. Even though there were plenty of longer and more difficult trails we didn’t get to take,I really liked that this park didn’t seem so huge it was overwhelming. Like, say Yellowstone did to me

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I can’t believe we have lived within a day drive of this place and had never been. Get out and explore guys! Our country is SO amazingly beautiful

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One final picture I took while driving out in the evening. TOO much gorgeousness.

What did you do for the holidays this year?

Family Fun Adventure: Muck Fest Mud Run

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Hello Lovelies, I thought I’d do a little write up on this fun outing we took part of the family to this year….Muck Fest 2015. It was held in Prado Regional Park in San Bernardino County. If you are participating in the run you don’t need to pay for the park’s day use fee. For the last couple years the company Hubbs works for sponsors any employees that want to enter the run and they can then sign up friends and family for about $65 dollars per person, depending on when you sign up. If you sign up closer to the date of the race, the price goes up. A free T-shirt, bag check, a drink and snack is included in the ticket price. This year Hubbs took biggest boy to run with him. But, he didn’t take his phone for pictures, so I’ll add some that we took last year when I went with him

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Some of the obstacles

We love that this run is benefiting charity via the MS Foundation and we are delighted to support it while having fun

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The run took place during the month of October which is really the perfect weather to be running this in. It’s quite hot out and the mud/water feels nice and cooling

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There is a small free mucky area for kiddies. A little slide, a tunnel and a inflated pool with a water bucket that dumps on their heads. Simple, but SO fun and my little guys happily played there the entire time Dad and big brother were running. It’s good thinking to bring bathing suits, towels and dry clothes

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It took them a few minutes to not be shocked by being/getting dirty, then they were all in. There are T-shirts for sale and a couple of food trucks or you can bring a picnic to enjoy in the huge park. After cleaning up at the shower truck we headed over to the nice large playground for lunch and play time before heading home

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Yeigh, we made it! Lots of fun. What fun runs have you tried?

Memory Keeper: This Week In October 2

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Above: Cole won 1st place in his age and belt in a multi school tournament

And another Memory Keeper to catch up with all those photos I’ve been taking

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Last year Cole attended this same tournament and didn’t win a trophy. I was proud of him for coming back this year as a black belt showing perseverance and sportsmanship

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We attended Story Fest 2015 this year with the little kids and they had a great time checking out all the big trucks, trying a blender bike, making crafts and reading stories

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Left: A little Dragon and a Wolf for Halloween. Brecklin’s first time. He was SO excited!

Right: A little trip to the book store for reading and snacks

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Left: A Sand dollar Right: A pic of the gang…Just for you Oma Grandma! They complained SO much!

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Yup, yup. They are still swimming

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Left: Pumpkin Cheesecake Right: Fresh baked bread (courtesy of Kenyon)

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Left: Smokey Chili, use some smoked paprika…it’s amazing! Right: A tiny boy practicing spelling, he loves a show on hulu called Word World and copies it by writing/making words whenever he can

Happy Fall!

Memory Keeper: This Week In October

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Above: Alvin, in his 2nd year of being on the Cross Country/Track team

I made up for not taking many pictures recently this month…you are warned!

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Left: Alvin has worked hard this year to improve his personal best time and continues to enjoy the sport

Right: Biggest boy also had a birthday. Hmm, yeah. The other characters were just there for the cake

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This boy is a confirmed bookworm. Love it!

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We enjoyed a light rain and made it an adventure, with boots and all. The littles were thrilled!

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Practicing spelling and writing numbers

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Making a fall painting and doing science experiments

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Left: “I am Egypt” says this little silly dilly Right: He helps me make my coffee every morning

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One of our many beach trips. Ooooo, I am loving the camera on my new phone

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Yup, we were still in the water in October! Well, the kids were anyway

Hope you enjoyed peeking in on our days together. Until next time, xo

Family Fun Adventure: San Diego Zoo

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*Disclaimer: I have not received any compensation for this post, all opinions are my own

Hey there! Today’s Family Fun Adventure comes from the world famous San Diego Zoo. I think most people that live in Cali know during the month October kids admission to the San Diego Zoo is free! (So is the Safari Park. See my post from 2013 on that park here: https://juggling5monkeys.wordpress.com/2013/11/29/san-diego-zoo-safari-park/)

Bring hats, sweaters, water bottles and sunscreen will save you having to fork out for the necessities at a higher price inside the park

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The cost: The kids were free. We bought the least expensive tickets for us parents at $48 a person (12 yrs and older. kids 3-11 years are $38 normally) came out to $96! You can get a small discount if you are a triple A member and you may be able to find other discounts in flyers at hotels or online. Parking is free. Plus a tank of gas and about 6 hours of driving, made this adventure not too cheap, but it is certainly worth making the trip every couple years with littles. The last time we visited here Brecks (little guy pictured above) was a belly bump, so we were definitely due for another visit

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Lots of close up viewing

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We borrowed a buddy for the day, which made the trip extra special for Azure. He and his friend talked Pokemon most of the day and random animal facts. Thank goodness! Mom and Dad needed a break from hearing about each fine Pokemon detail

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One forewarning that’s probably obvious…the zoo will be extremely crowded due to the free day. It was difficult to keep tabs on littlest boy and we lost him in the crowds a couple times. The zoo is pretty large and requires a quick pace to see everything. There were quite a few people jams in choice viewing areas, but if you go with that in mind and try to stay chilled and relaxed you won’t get too bothered. Hehe…hopefully. You can also take the tram that is included in the tickets instead of marching everywhere, though for the kids (on the free days) you will need to pay extra. Since we brought a small light stroller we opted to get some exercise. The older boys (7 & 8 years) while excited troopers (not complaining once) were tired by the end of the day

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I was so impressed with this guy. Normally when we go on an adventure he just runs from place to place, barely interested. On this occasion he stopped and would search for most of the creatures, in every reptile and insect tank! This trip was very worth it from an entertainment stand point of a very active 4 1/2 year old. Of course all kids are different, so a younger child could certainly be just as interested, depending on the child

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The monkeys had nice large habitats. The zoo also has a playground area for kids that was super packed out, but it was a good little break spot

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There are a bunch of these animal sculptures to pose on and the zoo is building a new Africa Rocks area opening in 2017

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Three cuties on a giant tortoise

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A little picnic lunch outside the zoo and a couple of seal wannabes

You can buy everything you could want or need for a visit to the zoo inside at the food/drinks/snack spots and souvenir shops. Since we live in Cali and often visit some of these more expensive touristy places I tend to make the visit on the cheap as much as possible while still being special and fun. For example, I made extra fancy sandwiches and bought some fun snacks/drinks and the kids only made squished pennies as souvenirs. We did grab ice cream at the grocery store on the way home and the kids were perfectly happy with that

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I hope this post gives you a good idea of a place to visit if you are ever out this way. Also, check out the zoo’s website for added extras I didn’t touch on in this post, like ticket upgrades, animal encounters, summer camps, etc. It is a wonderful place and I would certainly have annual passes if we lived closer.

Happy Fall All!