Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Brothers

Recently, these brothers have been enjoying afternoons off the front of the house. There is no grass and hardly any shade but the crushed rock makes for a fine gravel yard for their trucks. Often they don't say a word, each keeping to himself with the exception of a small "beep" or air break "hiss" here and there. I don't sit out there much with them. Usually, I am eager to use the quiet minute to accomplish a task or clean something or another but today was different. Careful not to disturb them, I snapped a few pictures in hopes of remembering when the sun shone hot and Camo watch bands and shorts were all the rage. Because it really is just a million little moments just like this that make up our one single life, isn't it? What's beeping and hissing in your neck of the woods today?



Sunday, July 20, 2014

Sweet Summertime

On Jer's side of the family there are eight kiddos under the age of 7. With the exception of the age of 5, we have one at every stair step. So needless to say, our time together is not often photographed. The odds are just plain against us. However, a few weeks ago, I brought our blow up pool over to Mimi and Pops and the kids had an absolute blast playing in the water and soaking everyone {and everything} with the hose. It was a lovely afternoon that ended with naps for the littles and a popcorn and fruit picnic for the bigs in the shadiest part of the yard. Sweet summertime.











Monday, June 23, 2014

The Sloan's Storm California, Pt. II

The next leg of our trip had us driving to Sequoia National Forrest for a little camping and to see The General, of course! But not before the long, long, loooooong stretch of highway through the Mojave Desert. It was bad people. The RV was beyond hot. I was road sick from standing and walking so much while we were driving. The kids were beside themselves with the fact that we had been driving for 15 hours. It was a poor showing on all of our parts and about the only "good" I can say about this day is that we didn't breakdown, overheat, or blow a tire. All I kept asking Jer was HOW in the world did early settlers cross this desert?! Can you even try to imagine what crossing this stretch of land in a covered wagon with your family would have been like?! Unimaginable, in our opinion. I felt like it was torture going 65 with air conditioning, all the while sipping on a coke from In-N-Out!
Which brings me to my next modern day convenience. The iPad. It saved our sanity more than once this time around. Here are the kiddos circled around Despicable Me while the last minutes of daylight dwindle. Not pictured: Two parents furiously chugging coffee and searching every mind-reserve to come up with things to talk about to keep each other awake. I think we still had 4 more hours of driving to do that night. Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.
After a four star sleep in Barstow {not!} we hit the road again bright and early with the anticipation of seeing giant redwoods. The excitement proved to be too much for some of the rookies on board.  I can't even remember the last time I held this boy until he fell asleep. Maybe 2010?! Times have changed. This kid is HEAVY! Here is us; him asleep and dreaming of Legos, me silently longing for my white cheddar popcorn stored waaaaaaaaay out of reach.
Finally, around hour twenty-something the scenery began to change. Fruit stands started popping up all over the place and there were orange groves for miles and miles! Our six pack even managed a road side stop for some peaches, strawberries and cherries. It was Jer's attempt at a morale boost. Seriously, the drive time was threatening to do us all in!
Meanwhile, back in the RV for the last bit of our haul, I pulled out every trick in the book to keep the kids busy. Books, coloring, and Play-doh. I absolutely loved Abe and Ben's creations! 
Abe's duck
Ben's frog

At last we arrived at our campground. Sadly, these are the *only* two pictures I have of our stay. They were taken while we were waiting for our food at a little restaurant beside the river.

Long story short, we drove up to the Sequoia park entry only to be turned away because our RV was too long. Ten feet too long, to be exact. To make matters worse, the nearest entry our RV would be able to access was hours away and the nearest rental car shop was closed, as well. We looked into guided tours-closed for out of season. We looked into hiking it-out of the question. We even asked a college student if we could rent her Honda Civic (HA!) for the day. Three guesses what her answer was! As you can imagine, it was disheartening to have come all that way only to have no way to actually make it in to the park. There were tears and not from the kids or Jeremy. However, the Lord took such good care of us, giving us a much needed night of rest and some down time in such a beautiful place. It was a gift we didn't even know we needed. As an added bonus, just a few hours in to our stay, our boys met up with a pack of kids who were inner tubing down the river. After some good ol' fashion rock climbing and jumping off into the swimming hole, they all became the greatest of friends and we could hardly keep track of them after that. As for Jer and I, well, we made friends too. After someone's little girl roasted a dead rat over our neighbor's campfire (true story!), the sweet couple from San Diego was more than eager to combine firepits, talk about life and kids, and manage a s'more or two, as well. 
 
It still makes me smile thinking back on how filthy our kids were at the end of the night. Scooters, swimming, tad pole catching, running barefoot through the campground, bug spray, s'mores. You get the picture. But the smiles on their faces? Best ever. Obviously it was a moment meant for capturing right there in the minute and no where else. But picture it. Clanky air conditioning running. Clothes reeking of campfire smoke. Kids laid out on any soft spot to be found. Feet and faces dirty and the feeling that vacation is just starting to unfurl. Pure bliss. It's probably best that we didn't get in to that national park after all. Those redwood giants would have paled in comparison to what I saw that night.