Thursday, August 23, 2012

Disneyland for a Minimum Day

With the new minimum days in our school we decided to take the first one to go to Disnyeland since we had been blocked out all summer.  I let Annika and Ashling dress up and we went with our friends to make for a better day.  

 Here are all the girls in the double stroller.  It was better than having to bring two but a little hard to push.
 Ashling waiting in line to see Tinkerbell.
 Annika is a little fairy here.

The hardest part of the evening was that we waited to see fireworks despite the late hour and the tired kids who had to go to school in the morning.  At the last second they canceled the fireworks and we were so sad because we waited for so long.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Back to School

The kids were so excited to go back to school.   I think it helped that I bought them new clothes that they loved.  I have the tradition of not wearing any new clothes until school starts so they sit in their closet just waiting for school.  The girls were happy with their teachers and Ashling has her second year of a male teacher, (something that doesn't happen too often in elementary school.)

 Annika started her second year at the Whitaker Learn and Play preschool.  She loves it there and she will still be doing one more year of preschool after this.  She is going to be very ready for kindergarten by the time it starts!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Lilian Lakes Backpacking Trip

We decided it was time to show the older girls what backpacking is all about and planned with 2 other families to go on a family backpacking trip. So at the end of July our trip had finally come.    The girls were very excited as we loaded our backpacks up... and quite a bit nervous about carrying the weight.
 We woke up early... after not going to sleep until late and met at the Valero at 4:00am.  It was still dark and cold and we were sleepy.  We drove up to the trailhead... which was the longest drive ever by the way... and it took about 10 hours including stops.  This trail was way back in the Sierras and I couldn't believe how hard it was to get there.  I was a little disappointed by the length of time and also because they were logging the trees all around us.

We loaded our backpacks on and got prepared to hike the 4 1/2 miles the first day.  Here is Jonah ready to go.
 More kids ready to go...
 Jessica is looking excited!
 Here is Ashling.  She is the youngest backpacker by about a year.
 The whole group of kids.  Aren't they cute?

 Here is the trail.  It is dry and hot outside with a side (really a main dish) of dust.

 Here is a beautiful meadow we were delighted to see... until the mosquitos joined us.

 We camped for the night and by the time the tents were set up and dinner cooked it was almost dark and time for bed.  We were exhausted so the sleep was welcome.
 Day 2 brought renewed energy and the kids saw an otter/platypus (there was a huge battle fought between Jonah and Cameron as to which one it was.)   We put on our backpacks and got ready to hike the additional 2 1/2 miles to the next lake.  The kids were a little more scared about the trip now that they knew what it was like to carry backpacks but we got going and they hiked great!

 Here is Sierra.  She came on the trip and carried her own food the whole way.
 This is the lake we camped out.  It is called Lilian Lake.  The best part of this lake was the swimming.  Usually jumping into a sierra lake causes one to scream (from the cold) but this lake was warm and we swam in it for at least an hour.  It was nice to get clean after two days of hiking.
 Cameron caught 3 fish at this lake the whole time.  It was good that they were all caught the first day in time for dinner!  Fish while backpacking is quite a luxury!
 The third day we decided to go on a day hike since we were going to stay camping at the same spot.  We decided to not take the trail and instead enjoyed climbing this rock scree over  a small pass to the lakes.  It was a great view and a fun hike and the kids loved it.
 Here is another view of Lilian Lake.
 Ali is down there with Sierra.

 Look at the views we gained as we hiked higher!
 Cameron and I enjoyed hiking together!
 Here are the hikers who went on the day hike.  Ashling stayed at camp so she could play with her friend.  She also was a little tired from all the hiking.
 Here is the first lake we came to.  It was not great fishing and it was shallow.  I read the whole time I was at this lake.  A kindle is the perfect invention for backpacking because I had all the books I could possibly want to read right on one little device.  The basic kindle battery lasts about a month even when you are reading a lot.

 This is chitondon lake.  It was our favorite place of the whole hike.  The water was really clear and we had the lake mostly to ourselves.  Cameron fished some and we all swam.  The lake was a little colder but not at all cold and we enjoyed jumping off rocks and swimming to the islands in the middle of the lake.

 Cameron and Ashling took a hike up above our camp on Saturday night.  The enjoyed the views all around and Ashling enjoyed taking some pictures.  This tree is like the tree from the Lion King.

 The morning sun on the lake was beautiful!

 Our hike out was on Monday morning and we hiked 6 1/2 miles that day by noon.  It was a fun hike and we enjoyed it but we super dirty when we finished due to our dinner of dirt.

No Sierra trip is complete without a trip to a restaurant.  We chose to eat at Chevys fresh mex.  We ate so many chips I am surprised we had any room to eat.  We were also delighted to find that it was a kids eat free day and their meals were entirely free.  We even got some dessert and ended up paying less that we would have even at a fast food place.