Friday, August 22, 2014

Off The Grid

Okay, we haven't been off the grid, technically - just VERY busy!! We were without internet for a month, however, so that's one reason I haven't blogged in FOREVER! The other reasons are below.....

First, we bought a house!!
In March we found this great little town, Arbuckle, out in the middle of ag land (nuts, fruit, rice, corn, sunflowers, peppers, tomatoes, grapes....). There was a brand new housing development going in - we decided to pick out a lot and sign a contract before they had even poured the slab! We got to make some design choices and finally got our keys on June 18th! So far, minus a few bumps that are still working themselves out, we absolutely love our new home/town. Jason has to commute an hour now, but has been able to start tele-working a few days to limit the driving.

Jessie was definitely ready to be done with the move (she is on the floor of our rental in Fairfield)

 I took pictures before we started moving boxes and furniture in, so I have some before/after pics for some of the rooms. We still have tons to get organized and put away, so some of the rooms are mis-matched/random looking!
Great Room

Front Entry/Stairs/Dining Room

Dining Room

Upstairs Bonus Room

This is the reason we chose this lot....the view from upstairs (Master Bedroom and Office) looks out over an almond orchard to the hills in the distance. This is west, so the sunsets are fabulous!

Next, the kids were in a combined 4 camps in a three week period!
Gracie went to the Pine Trails Ranch in Davis for horse camp again - she absolutely loved it!

The kids tried something new - I signed all three of them  up for tennis camp in Arbuckle. Although reluctant - they loved it!

Emmett has been dying to try baseball, so he did a 3-day camp put on by high school team.
The fourth camp all the kids did was Bible Camp in Fairfield, right after school was out and the same week I was crazy-busy packing and getting ready to go the Colorado Springs!

Next on the summer agenda.....4th of July weekend was amazing!
We learned that we truly LOVE our new town/neighborhood. One of the families near us planned a block-party and organized food, activities and fireworks. My parents were here and had a great time too. 

My parents came for a visit, but also to help with a few move-in projects - yay! :-)

They played on this ALL afternoon! One thing to watch out for if your kids ever play on one of these....over time, the velcro that holds parts of this together, can pull loose and "grab" long hair. The more they struggle, the tighter it gets. Poor Jessie got stuck and all the kids just kept climbing over the top of her until she started yelling. She didn't understand what was happening. After we got her hair out of the hook/loop, took a little Tylenol, and gently brushed out the tangles, food in her tummy - she was good to go for more!!

After the 4th, we were off to Mt. Shasta to meet our friends from Oregon for some camping.
We stayed at the Castle Lake campground (only five spots and no running water!). This is Castle Lake, it's about 1/4 mile from the campground.

A longer-than-expected hike up to Heart Lake

Elli has never been quite so happy to see swimming water at the top!

What's camping without a little baseball...

And a little fishing....but no catching this time!

Jeana and Clare (Gracie's Goddaughter)

It was a good day to not be the smaller bug....
Emmett (7), Gracie (9), Zach (4), Clare (14 mos), Jessie (5), Nate (6)

We capped off our summer vacation with a 10-day road trip going through 9 states!

First stop, one night in Portland at Uncle Ken and Aunt Jeanne's house - so lovely and truly enjoyed the visit!

Next stop, Spokane for two nights. A little fun along the Riverfront, then off to my Cousin Kate's wedding - absolutely lovely and we're pretty fond of the groom too ;-) so it was a great day! (Gracie is still talking about how much she loved your wedding, Kate and Jon :-)

Can't stay long, off to Montana!
On our way to Great Falls to visit friends, we stopped by Mom and Dad's retirement property....absolutely stunning! I'm sure I could handle looking at that view every single day!
Stay to the right!

Amazing rock cut on the BLM section of their road

House Building Spot...and the view.....
Testing the new well....Yep, there's water!

 Our stop in Great Falls was very quick, but so worth it. We stayed with our friends and former neighbors, the Haagenson's - they were busy getting their youngest child off to college and another son married! So many changes!
While Jason and the kids were visiting Father Lou (now retired, but the priest from our church/school) Jessie lost her first tooth!  Yep, I'll bet that was a first for Father Lou!
At our favorite place to play in Great Falls, Giant Springs State Park

On to our final stop before heading home.....back to Colorado Springs to visit our friends the Gormley's!  They welcomed another baby, Isabella, to their family in March, so everybody was anxious to meet her and see how much their older daughter, Kiersten, had grown. We also brought a truck-load of toys (slide, wagon, kitchen set) to pass on. :-)

We had a great time - John and Jason went fly fishing, we had a family day and visited a wildlife museum, and Beth and I had a girls day complete with pedicures, lunch and shopping

Garden of the Gods

Bowling at Bass Pro Shop
Still a baby-whisperer.....and she's out!

Finally on our way back to California! We stayed over in West Wendover, UT on the way home. Even though we were only there about 12 hours, it was still enough time for Jessie to pull out her second tooth (actually I pulled it :-) right before dinner arrived at our table!

We had a wonderful trip and truly enjoyed seeing everyone!

Back in Arbuckle, we only had two weeks until school started back again, so we were off to the's only $1 to get in!
Emmett LOVES the high dive. He even did a few head first!

Jessie (and Gracie) finally got the nerve to take a jump from the high dive - I'm so proud! :-)

Even though the daily temperatures are in the 90's or 100's and the calendar still says it's August, the kids had to go back to school - on August 11th! Our first year with all 3 kids in school - yay!
Jessie (K), Emmett (1st), Gracie (4th)

Our last Kindergartener - we're so proud of her!

Another milestone on August 11th...Jason and I celebrated 13 years of marriage!  I made a nice dinner, looked at the wedding album with the kids, and did something that I've never done before.....put on my wedding dress! With help, I got it zipped up, but somehow it didn't quite fit the same way I remembered it.... :-)

That about wraps up our summer - phew! Absolutely crazy and fabulous!
I do have a couple more pictures that I didn't want to leave out....

Cruisin' in the Prius...that's right, we are officially Californians - we bought a used Prius for Jason's commute :-)
This big guy was waiting to greet us in our garage - that's good luck, right? ;-)

I thought we had a wolf spider in our house in Montana, but after finding a real wolf spider in our garage here (note the size of the plug!), I realized we definitely did not have one of these in Montana!