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Another School Year Over

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Another School Year Over

This past year brought a lot of events in our family. There were changes for some of us, challenges for some of us, and growth for all of us. Now that there are 3 of us who attend (well, okay, one of us teaches, but you get it) school daily, we measure things in years of 10 months at a time. Summer somehow seems like an entirely different entity.

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The 4 of us on our first day – August 2016

I came back to 5th grade this year. I got a new partner, and a new principal. We went on several field trips this year – more than last year.

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Soaking up local culture and Art

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Re-enacting the American Revolution at Riley’s Farm

This year had its challenges for me, but being in the classroom for the second year, teaching (mostly) the same content was much easier than last year. I had a much clearer picture and understanding of my expectations.

We raised money for another 3-day field trip to the Pali Institute this time. It was a great experience!

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Checking out wildlife in the pond at Pali

My son, the 16-year-old, was finally able to get his Comedy Troupe started. It was a struggle sometimes, and it took a LOT of strength for me to stay out and let him find his own wings and his own voice, but he did. He managed the team and ran the practices and at the end of the year was able to perform to a full house!

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the teams warming up before the show

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My son, with his winning “Karate Kid” move

He also managed to get himself into the “Top 10 of 2019” at his school, something he aimed for last year but JUST missed.

Our youngest daughter started middle school this year. Thought it seems like *just yesterday* that she started pre-school, now she is ready to take on 7th grade. She had a year of adjustments, but rose to the challenges that faced her. Last year, she was very involved in things like Math Field Day and her dance elective. This year, as she was adjusting to middle school, she decided to scale things back. Next year she’s hoping to be part of the performing arts elective. She did, however, attend all the dances.

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The youngest (right) ready for Mardi Gras

Our middle child had a full, busy year. She performed several times with her performing arts elective, and was in the Spring Musical. She also trained to be a Junior Docent for a historical building in town.  She auditioned for a new Arts high school and was accepted! And finally, she graduated 8th grade and is moving on to high school in the Fall.

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Heading into the audition

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My girl and I on her promotion day.

 

While I am glad to be back in the classroom, the worst part is that I don’t get to volunteer in the kids’ classrooms or go on field trips like I used to. (Though, admittedly, now that they’re older there are less opportunities to do this.) Luckily I was able to take a few personal days and chaperone the 8th grade field trip to Catalina. I did it for my son, and now my daughter. (Hopefully in 2 years I’ll get to go with my youngest.

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My daughter, ready to try snorkeling at Catalina

Somewhere in there, we also managed to go on a trip during Spring Break. (Now that one child will be on a different schedule next year, this may be our last Spring vacation in awhile…)

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Salt Creek in Death Valley

Next year will bring even more changes for us. Not only is my daughter starting high school in another district, I’m changing schools (and grades! I’m going from 5th to 1st grade). We’re back to having 3 kids at 3 schools for a few years. Luckily my husband’s schedule is flexible enough that we can tag-team with all the kids!

For now, we’re on Summer vacation. We began our summer by saying good-bye to my Granny. She was a fabulous, loving woman with a great laugh. She is missed.

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Granny and I, 2 years ago

Two kids are taking summer school classes, both Mom AND Dad are taking classes this summer, and everyone will be busy. In there somewhere, we’ll be headed on a trip, and attend Comic-Con. I worry this summer will go by in the blink of an eye, but we will make the very most of it.

Happy Summer, everyone!!

~Genevieve

Hometown Tourists -Walking In L.A.

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I have lived in the greater Los Angeles area for 24 years. When I was younger and single, every now and then I’d do a touristy thing with friends, but for the most part, we worked and then we went to the beach or to hang out or dance at clubs or go shopping.

Once we were married, we did a few touristy things, like the Huntington Gardens, but honestly – not much.  “The Internet” wasn’t available as a quick source to find things to do, and I didn’t have a social media outlet that would let me see what cool things friends were doing that would give us ideas.

Now, with all of the above, and more (podcasts, vacation advisor sites, etc), we see things to do in our own area that we never knew existed. So, now every once in a while (especially during the summer), we find touristy things to do around L.A.

On Sunday we headed to the MOCA – Grand Ave. (Little did I know when I Googled “MOCA” that there would be so many options to choose from. What I didn’t realize was that it was so close to Angel’s Flight. I’m still waiting for them to open it again, and am so saddened at how horrible the stairs next to it have gotten – urine smell, what I think was human feces. Come on, Los Angeles… why is our city so horribly dirty? 😦

 

I enjoyed a lot of the art in the MOCA. This one in particular stood out to me. “Hourglass on legs” made a statement to me as a woman. THIS is what society wants from us. To be nothing more than an hourglass on legs. We are so much more.

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We walked a few blocks to a bookstore I’d heard about through friends on facebook, honestly.

We saw these cool Metro run bikes that you can rent to ride around the city. What a great idea.

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The bookstore was neat, but hotter than hot, as there was no air conditioning. There was a cool little knitting room, but sadly their collection of knitting books was paltry. (and no, they didn’t have my book, nor ANY of my knitting friends’ books)

We enjoyed the museum and the bookstore, but as a whole, L.A. can be overwhelming and depressing. We have been to other big cities – Denver, Portland, Seattle, Salt Lake City… none of those are as dirty or smelly as L.A. and none of them makes me more nervous than walking in L.A. can, depending on the day.

The next day the kids and I went to Griffith Park to do some sightseeing. We went looking for Bronson Caves (aka the Batcave from the Adam West tv series). There are no real signs letting you know, and there are lots of signs like these:

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Luckily, there were other people we could ask and we finally figured it out.

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Heading up, it was a short, 10 minute walk.

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Can you picture the Caped Crusaders pulling out of this cave in the Batmobile?

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The boy found higher ground.

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Once out of the cave, turn left and you’ll see the Hollywood sign.

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And just outside the cave are these rocks.

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After the caves, my youngest daughter had found some photos of “neat parks” and steered us to a place called “Shane’s Inspiration” that is a playground for kids of all abilities.

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I read while they played.

It happened to be right next to the carousel, which the girls wanted to ride. My son isn’t a fan of carousels, but he went so that the girls would walk up to the old abandoned zoo, which he wanted to visit.

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Happy girls.

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He is not amused.

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It turns out this is the very spot Walt Disney thought up Disneyland. I had read it before, but had forgotten.

We had lots of fun in the cages at the old zoo.

While Los Angeles has its ups and downs, it does have some great gems to visit if you have time. Wherever you live, I’m sure you can find gems of your own, and be a tourist in your own hometown.

~Genevieve

Leaving L.A. for Another Planet

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Leaving L.A. for Another Planet

Today, thanks to the suggestion (and urging) of our son, we headed up to another world to hike at Vasquez Rocks. We’ve been there once before, 3 years ago.

This time, we left pretty early in the morning to beat the heat. We weren’t the first ones there.

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The sky is unreal

There were two photo shoots/ filming happening, so we headed in the other direction. At first, it seemed we were headed far from any cool rock formations.

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But there were a few…

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These rocks looked otherworldly to me – as if they really could be on a different planet than Earth. I suppose this is why it made for an excellent other planet in Star Trek.IMG_1564

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I love that they walk like this, still.

Even the flowers look alien.

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My older daughter needed to stop, because she felt “a rock” in her shoe… turns out it was an actual rusty nail. Thankfully, after a thorough inspection of her foot to make sure it didn’t break the skin, she was fine, and we were back on our way.IMG_1586

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Relaxin’

We went up and down and around and finally came back toward the rocks we remembered.

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The boy wanted to climb.IMG_1619

So they climbed. I was very content to stay down below.IMG_1624

Until I wasn’t.

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Once we were up top, we enjoyed the view, then headed down another side (the easier side!) and the kids found themselves some comfy little holes.

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I tried to find some Zen (with a little help).IMG_1655

They boy found his Zen as well.IMG_1660

Going down was much easier than getting up!

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We saw a couple (?) who were taking photos in their Trek outfits. (Yes, those are the same outfits my husband and I own, thankyouverymuch.)IMG_1670

Good-bye, Vasquez Rocks…. for now.IMG_1673

Road Trip Part One – Yellowstone I

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Summer in our family means it’s time to pack up our things and cram into the family car and head out on a great adventure. In the past, we’ve gone to National Parks, National Monuments, a great meteor crater, cute small towns, big cities, and many places in between. This year, my husband booked a trip he’d wanted to make for a LONG time, which included most of the above listed destinations.

Stop 1: Salt Lake City.

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I can’t say too much about the place, as we were only there one night. It was clean, pretty, and pretty windy. Sadly, we didn’t see the actual Great Salt Lake. Hopefully we can make it back again someday in the future.

Stop 2: Yellowstone National Park, Old Faithful Inn

Our first stop in Yellowstone was at the Old Faithful Inn. My husband and I have wanted to visit Yellowstone for several years. Last year we weren’t able to go on a big trip, so he took matters into his own hands and booked our trip a year in advance. He didn’t ask advice from anyone we knew, but just tried to figure out what to see based on reading a book and searching the net. He did a pretty darn good job.

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The entrance

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Old Faithful

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The giant clock on the giant mantle in the lobby

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These people I love, exploring the hotel walkways.

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lobby, from above

Old Faithful is just outside the inn. Just beyond Old Faithful are a few walkways to explore several geysers. I have to say that there are signs EVERYWHERE telling visitors to stay on the path for their own safety.

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The paths keep you safe from wandering into a dangerous hotspot.

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Castle Geyser. When geysers aren’t active, they are always emitting some gas and steam.

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We walked up to this geyser JUST as it was going off.

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The Grotto Geyser went off in waves, like the ocean. (Where’s Ariel?)

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Just starting

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Girls taking a break by the river

I’m going to make a confession right now. I thought that Yellowstone was JUST GEYSERS. And, of course, a National Park that would be pretty and have trees and trails and whatnot. My husband did his research. I did not. I was treading water all year trying to survive my first year back to work and let him take care of the trip planning, so I didn’t do my research.

Imagine my surprise when we headed to a basin filled with one the most beautiful sites I’ve ever seen.

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Walking by the river on the way to the Midway Geyser Basin

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I was always fascinated by the tiny flowers thriving among the treacherous landscape.

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Unreal

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Reading the no swimming sign and discussing the landscape

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Hot springs. The lighter blue the water, the hotter it is.

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Beautiful but deadly

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A waitress in Salt Lake City told us she’d never seen so many colors as in Yellowstone. Now I know what she meant.

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My favorite of all, which isn’t done justice by my photograph. The Grand Prismatic Spring. Just amazing.

Click HERE to see a breathtaking overhead view of the Spring, from Getty Images.

We bought me a pair of earrings and necklace that were inspired by the Grand Prismatic Spring.

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An example of the boardwalks everywhere to keep everyone away from danger

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Bubbling in the water

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On the left, you can see where some runoff from a spring is making a little waterfall, altering the ground around it and heading into the river.

The next day we drove to the Lake. We saw more geysers and springs right on the lake, stopped to get a closer look at the lake, and had dinner right on the lake.

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pools next to the lake

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Beautiful but deadly, part 2

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Touching the lake

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boy on a log

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taking in the beauty

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3 kids in front of the giant fireplace

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the lounge of the Lake Hotel

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beautiful view

 

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That night, when we got to our lodge, we took a silly picture. 🙂

Since there are so may photos and I want people interested in Yellowstone to be able to see as many as possible, I’m splitting up the blogs into pieces. Stay tuned.

~Genevieve

This Week in Pictures – 7/2/16

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It’s been a LONG time.

We visited a hardware store that carries some interesting “antiques”… like this commemorative plate.

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And this odd little chicken.IMG_6825

We were picking out knobs and pulls for the kitchen. It’s amazing how crazy some of the hardware gets.IMG_6827

We did not pick any of these.IMG_6828

That night, a friend and I saw a play at the local playhouse. We had pretty good seats. I have mixed feelings about the actual “play,” which seemed more like we were being read a woman’s actual diary on stage.IMG_6858

The kids have found the fun little “jail” in the staircase.IMG_6934

And my son finally emptied (most) of the boxes in his room, with TONS of help from my awesome parents.IMG_6947

We got a new bed.IMG_6969

The kids played Monopoly. They played the same game over a series of days.IMG_6970

Last night we watched the local fireworks from a friend’s front yard, catching up with people I adore that I haven’t seen in far too long.IMG_7004

This morning, my husband put up some art on the wall. IMG_7005

And finally… we got some random candy left on our doormat last night. So odd.IMG_7006

This weekend we’ll celebrate the 4th with family. Happy Independence Day, Americans. Let’s get our act together, shall we?

 

Splash!

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I’ve been taking my kids to Sarah for years. For 5 years, actually. I could never get any swimming teacher to get my middle child to get her face in the water. It seems like a lifetime ago.

This is what the kids looked like back then.

They look so small!

They look so small!

Gracie, after just having swam, with DRY HAIR. 😛

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It’s been 5 summers, and at this point, the older two are simply perfecting their strokes and dives, and learning more difficult things like the butterfly. Maddie is now swimming across the pool, jumping, and starting to dive. She is perfectly happy (and safe) in the deep end, and I couldn’t be happier!

Here are some photos of today to see how far they’ve come.

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G, doing the backstroke

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She loves diving!

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S, breast stroke

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S, cruising underwater

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S & G, underwater

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M, mid-jump

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M, ready to go

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M, learning to dive

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M the mermaid

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Week In Pictures – Summer Traditions

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We got a new tv stand/entertainment center, and watched Spock Mind Meld with Picard.

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We swam.

Grammy & the girls

Grammy & the girls

We tried tying scarves 20 different ways, because why not? (Also, Grammy’s going to Paris and will be wearing scarves.) We all will be more stylish now. 🙂

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We tried a Starbucks soda.

Maddie and Grampy

Maddie and Grampy

One day the pool was “contaminated” and we couldn’t go in it for 24 hours, so we did this instead.

S & G trying their hands at ping-pong

S & G trying their hands at ping-pong

Me & Kristi

Me & Kristi

We got a visit from my oldest and dearest friend, Kristi, and her daughter Kailey Genevieve. 🙂

You may have read about Kristi HERE. A lot has changed since even that post I made 3 years ago!

Most of us.

Most of us.

Pictured above are me, Kristi, my 3 kids and her oldest daughter. Sadly, her 10-year-old wasn’t on this trip, but hopefully we’ll have a photo with her next year.

(Just for kicks, here’s a picture of Kailey and the kids their last visit 4 years ago)

Kailey was 11, Sean was 9, Grace was 7, and Mads was 4.

Kailey was 11, Sean was 9, Grace was 7, and Mads was 4.

The next day we had one last dip in the pool (and jacuzzi).

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Friday night, my youngest went to a movie night at a friend's house and we had a movie night of our own.

Friday night, my youngest went to a movie night at a friend’s house and we had a movie night of our own.

And we used our themed utensil for the pizza!

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Dinner at the Bowl

Dinner at the Bowl

On Saturday we went to our first of 3 concerts at the Hollywood Bowl. (Going to the Bowl has been a tradition of ours for 10 years with the kids – almost 19 years just us.) It was celebrating Dreamworks Animation’s 20th anniversary. Jack Black was the host. Several composers showed up – Alan Silvestri, Hans Zimmer, Alexandre Desplat, and a few more – to conduct, or just to play instruments. At the end, they all played an instrument and formed some sort of  composer supergroup, while Jack Black and Judith Hill sang.

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And there were fireworks.

Shrek-sized fireworks

Shrek-sized fireworks

Let’s not forget – the USC marching band showed up as well, to help with a song from the Croods.

The USC marching band in front of the orchestra.

The USC marching band in front of the orchestra.

 

It was a pretty darn good week! How was your week? What’s in store for you next week?

~Genevieve