Memory Keeper: Odds N Ends and This Week In August

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Above: This guy turned 13!

This Memory Keeper post is a bit of a round up of cute photos that Hubbs had on his phone or on our real camera that I finally got around to gathering up

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Kenyon and Cole at their 8th grade graduation! So proud of all their hard work and initiative in taking a 9th grade class for summer school. You two monkeys are AWESOME! Love, Mom (in case you happen to read this blog one day)

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And a little ice cream to celebrate Azure’s promotion from kindergarten

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L: Paintball party! R: Azure modeling a mask I made in lieu of cupcakes for his classmates

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L: Tiny boy’s 3rd birthday R: Someone fell asleep while watching stuff on his dearly beloved ipad

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Azure attending a friends roller skating birthday party. The floors were a bit too slick for this one

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And these two nutters, well, they have discovered the Selfie!

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And a few from this month

L: Azure made a ‘double bunk bed’ out of dining chairs and proceeded to read bedtime stories to his lil bro. He was ACTUALLY reading correctly and for FUN! Such happiness. R: Can’t get over how fast this boy is growing up. He can swim short distances on his own now and is always begging to ‘take off the floatie’ (life vest) And he’s back to crying in the morning to go to school with Azure and wants a ‘pack-pack’. I’m thinking that gathering up his homeschool stuff into a back pack might make him feel a bit better about being left behind

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  The yearly start of school photos

L: Three High schoolers! Where did the time go? R: Azure starts 1st grade

Happy Back-To-School All!

Family Fun Adventure: Kings Canyon and Sequoia National Park

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We have visited Sequoia National Park several times in the last couple of years and love this amazing place. On this trip up north we thought we’d explore Kings Canyon National Park. And boy were we rewarded with gorgeous views, shady hikes and refreshing dips into cool mountain streams. Once again, for some reason I have a hard time wrapping my head around the idea that a place that gets real snowy in the mountains to be so blazin’ hot in the summer, but yeah, it was! Thank goodness there was opportunity for the kids to cool off, get clean, break up the drive and in general recover from grouchy moods that seem to settle when you are hot, bored and stuck in a van with your annoying brothers :). Just keeping it real. We definitely have those struggles too! Here are some of the pics we snapped along the way

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  There are plenty of different trails varying in difficulty. Certainly some thing for everyone of any size. We started out walking the General Grant Trail, which is wide and easy to follow (see above left picture) with the littlest turkey determined to carry the water pack the entire hike. Such a funny fellow. It barely fit on his shoulders and was almost touching the ground, but he HAD to carry it

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Check out this massive hollowed out tree trunk called the Fallen Monarch. This naturally fire burned trunk was used as a camping shelter by a couple of logging brothers by the name of Gamlin while they built themselves a cabin back in 1872! It’s still intact and doesn’t look like its decomposed at all since then. The kids are running the length of it in the above photo

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Next we hit up the Big Stump Trail and here are some photos we took along the way. The trail is again, quite easy for kids. It is a real dirt trail, not like the paved General Grant Loop. There are restrooms and water fountains at the trail head

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Some giant trees! One of the kids favorite things to pose in…a hollow trunk, we could barely pass a single one without taking a pic. Above: A stump that reminded me of a fairy castle or fortress

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Left: Azure beside a downed tree trunk, he was about 1/2 as tall as the width. Trees always make a hike more enjoyable to me. It was very hot in spite of the shade and after making it to the Shattered Giant (see below) we turned around and headed back to the van in search of a way to cool off

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Left: Hubbs and Azure in the meadow of the Mark Twain Stump Right: All 5 monkeys on a giant stump

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Hmmm, and some reason I failed to get a picture of the kids on THE BIG stump named The Mark Twain Stump…anyhow its massive! It was cut down and a cross section sent to put be on display at the Natural History Museum New York where it is still on display today. The Shattered Giant looks like the tree fell and well, shattered. The kids got to climb over it and by now were getting a bit hangry

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The little munchkin needed some carrying from Dad and biggest brother even stepped in. He took all the hair pulling in relative good spirits

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Picnic spot at Grizzly Falls. Boy, are you spoiled for choice of gorgeous views up here. It seems this is kind of a dry year (July 2014) by the looks of the falls. The parking area is super close to the waterfall. There are also picnic tables and outhouse facilities

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After lunch we were off to explore before dinner. We found out about Hume Lake. There is a big private camp at the lake and we weren’t sure if visitors were allowed on the beach itself. I didn’t think to ask…I guess I was tired at that point 🙂 That’s the story I’m going with anyways. After parking at the day use area (there are a couple picnic tables, bbq grills and outhouses) and walking a short distance along Hume Lake Trail until we found a little clearing in the trees for the kids to take a dip

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The water was on the cold side in the evening so they only splashed for about half an hour

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Day 2 after breaking up camp, we headed to along the Kings Canyon Scenic Byway for the views! Wowza

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After a few hours it was time to turn around and start heading towards Sequoia National Park and homeward. But first, time to cool off in the South Fork of the Kings River. There were plenty of families enjoying the water in various places, so we drove around a bit until we found a spot without crowds

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It was cold. But after a few numbing minutes it wasn’t too bad the kids told me. Not a chance I was getting in, so I was the picture taker

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Daddy was a dear and got a little wet to keep track of the baby monkey. The river was a bit swift in spots

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Sitting on a log at the waters edge watching the kids play made me dream of one day having a property near water. What a wonderful paradise for a kid

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At this point we started to make our way towards Sequoia National Park…only to get wet again!

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One last short splash stop at Lodge Pole Campground where they let us park for free day use (We just asked the ranger, otherwise park at the visitor center and walk a bit). There was plenty of little areas of the river to wade in, since it was SO hot, there were a lot of other people with the same idea in mind. The bigger kids went further upstream to some natural slides and a deeper pools that were quite crowded while littlest monkey stayed to throw ‘rockies’ in the water and try to catch some small fish

And this long post wraps up our latest Family Fun Adventure!

Memory Keeper: This Week In July

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Above: Celebrating America’s Birthday this year with a lovely cake covered in summer berries

Here is my Memory Keeper post for July. Let’s start off with some foodie pics.

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Left: Cole made a couple giant Chocolate Chip cookies Right: And he brought me breakfast in bed

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Left: Lime Blueberry loaf with Cream Cheese frosting Right: Homemade Hummus

 

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Left: Orange Pineapple Strawberry Nectarine Smoothie Right: Blueberry Mango Banana Kale Yogurt Smoothie

Now is the time of year to stock up on those fruit sales. Produce prices are always on the rise, but its worth it to buy a bit extra and freeze it to enjoy as smoothies in months to come

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Left: The summer fun continues in the pool Right: Splashing in plastic storage containers on the patio with big brother overseeing the fun

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Left: More train time Right: This boy is all about lego creating these days

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Left: Azure grew a couple of sunflowers from seed as a kindergarten take home project

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Left: All this summer fun is tiring me out! Right: These two little monkeys decided to take over juicing for me

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Left: A rare day out with just Azure. He requested a Subway sandwich Right: Ninja boy posing

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As a rare and treasured treat, I got to hang out with Rachel, Carolina and their friends at Rincon beach for a girlie evening of gabbing and watching the sunset. I finally got to see the dolphins swimming less than two hundred feet from shore! Such a cool experience. Thanks for the great stories and company Rachel!

And that raps up July! Is summer flying or dragging by for you?