Table Mountain

We have lived out here for about four years and I was determined to make it out to Table Mountain this spring for its incredible show of wildflowers.  We didn't get out there until Memorial Day, which normally would be far too late for the flowers.  But, with all the lovely spring showers, we were still able to catch a few. 

Table Mountain is just what is sounds like...a mountain that looks like a table. 
Due to some weird volcanic mechanism, it is flat on top.
We felt very big standing on top of that table.

The table has cracks.

Where the water runs down.

 We played down there for a long time.  We climbed rocks.  One of us turned around pretty quick for fear of falling into the chilly water and one of us bouldered all the way around this little cove.  I'll let you guess which was which.

We skipped rocks (of course.) and found a baby frog.  A few of us loved the frog so enthusiastically we weren't sure he survived our visit.  Guess who that was.

This must have been a good throw!  Look at that face!  Also, this must have been before he decided to follow the big kids in taking off their shoes and wading in the water.  There is also a clue in this picture to help you answer one of the previous questions.

 It was a beautiful hike and a good time with friends.
Hope to see you next year, Table Mountain, with poppies. 

Check out Jake Early's print of Table Mountain HERE.
You can see more of his art at http://www.jakeearly.com/


Color My Windows

We are officially into summer up here in the Sierra Nevadas!  (Imagine that exclamation point is me doing a great big Toyota jump for joy.)  The summer weather is practically perfect.  Sunshine every day.  Warm enough to swim and be outside without the instant sweat factor of high humidity.  Cool enough in the evening to make grilling out the only place you want to cook.  Thank you, Lord!

I know other people live in places where it rains one day and is sunny the next.  Not quite so bi-polar as where I live.  Well, if you find yourself having a grey day this summer, here is a way to brighten things up.  Literally. 

1.  Cut colored tissue paper.

2.  Stick the pieces onto the sticky side of a piece of contact paper.

3.  Sandwich another piece of contact paper on the top.

4.  Trim the edges and hang up in your window for instant color!

It brings everybody's spirits right up.


Mixed Up Fairytales

With the last week of school (which is a whole bunch of assemblies and parties and way to much sugar) and the first couple weeks of summer camp and a visit with Shish (my mom), we have been busy little bees.  So much fun!  I can't wait to show off all the things we have been doing.  If only I can find the time.  It will come but with all the rugrats (I mean, angels) at home it is even harder to find the time.

So, today you get a little peek at the plays the big 'uns performed in at the end of the school year.  In California, all the extras have been cut from our public schools.  Thanks to our principal who scrounged up funds from somewhere to hire Ms. Rachel who orchestrated the production of about 10 different plays with that many classes.  She and the kids wrote all the plays and she (and other volunteer artists) made all of the scenery and props.  It came off beautifully!

Here are Joe and Abs to tell you all about it.



Your 20's Really Miss You

Today is a momentous day.
My little sister has crossed over into her thirties.
Since she is my little sister, you can all deduce the fact that I have already crossed this mark in my life.  My crossing wasn't traumatic but it did cause me to stop and do some life evaluation.  I looked around and thought "how did I get here?!"  So, in true big sister fashion, I would like to help guide my little sis through this special time in her life and remind her
how she got here.

First, you were born.  Well, second because I was first.

Then I taught you many things.
Like how to do neat tricks on your banana seat bicycle.

And how to look cool. 

Even while wearing Catholic school uniforms.

I taught you how to be tough.

I taught you a lot of things, told you anyway, because that's what big sisters do.  We're bossy and controlling.  And you didn't listen, because that's what little sisters do.  They're headstrong and stubborn.

But, thank goodness you didn't!

Look at the amazing woman you've become!
You are thoughtful and loving.  You have a quick, sharp mind and a contagious sense of humor.
And you are a fiercely, loyal friend.  I am so thankful that applies to sisters as well because it's one of my favorite qualities about you.  What a treat to get to grow up with you!

So, here's to you on your big day.
Welcome to The Thirties!


Sweet Mint

Last week when we went to the farmers' market, I picked up this huge bunch of mint.
The first thing I thought of was sweet mint tea!
Sweet mint tea reminds me of
Hooligans in Tuscaloosa and
rocking on a back porch swing with some friends from Mississippi. 
How far west does sweet tea go exactly?  I think there is some in St. Lewis, but it surely doesn't come as far as California.  And sweet MINT tea is just perfectly refreshing for this time of year.

simple mint syrup:
take equal parts
& chopped fresh mint

boil for a few minutes
cool and pour into container
let it set in the refrigerator 2-3 days
then strain out the mint leaves

Add to tea to desired sweetness!

It is also lovely to add to lemonade!  Mint Lemonade!  I do suggest using the little KoolAid lemonade packets that come without sugar.  So instead of adding sugar you just add the mint syrup.

That's my summer recipe.  Tomorrow Joe will give you his.


Is This Too Much?

My baby is almost two.
And this is two pacies (nuk, binkie, whatever you call it) too many.
We have passed the stage of ignorance when I could have just tossed them and he would have forgotten they existed.  Why did I wait?  Well there was that long plane ride I wanted to keep them for and then I was too tired and then we were going to stay with some friends and I couldn't have him squalling...

And now it's going to have to be an event.
He knows what to call it, how to go get it himself, and find the extras.
So I'm calling for ideas for how to
retire the pacifier.

Here are a few methods I have heard of before:

1.  The Easter Bunny took them.
2.  Giving them away to a newborn baby.
3.  Tossing them out the backdoor and just letting it sink in.
4.  Cutting the tips off.

All ideas submitted will be taken into consideration for the actual Retire the Pacifier Event.  If your idea is used and it actually works, you will win a basket full of thankfulness from me and his future dentist!


11 Years Ago

11 years ago I married this guy!
Don't we look happy?!

We've been through a lot since that day.  Different jobs, different towns, added some kids.
We've been married a third of our lives.
How do we look now?

picture by lexie bush (www.lybphots.com)
Happier than ever!
He's loving and generous, fun and creative. 
It has been an amazing adventure.

I love living life with you, Jonathan Gardner!



This was one of my favorite days on spring break!
The beach at Malibu!
And we got to spend it with our transplant So Cal friends again.
They taught Abby to body board (is that what you call it?).  The water was fuh-reezing.  Abs always makes fun of me for being so cold natured but I couldn't even put my feet in this water.  I don't know how she managed to spend so much time in there.  But she did great and Miss Smith was a wonderful teacher!

We tried out our DaVinci kite.

We dug the biggest hole ever at the beach (that day.)  Dilly Bean thoroughly enjoyed this play area.

Joe was not convinced to get in the water but he was a major player in the digging expedition.

Found more bugs.

Growing up, my family would take vacations to the beach.  Granted the Gulf of Mexico is a bit different than the California coast, it still brought back memories of spending all day playing in the sand, going for a swim to get the sand off, lounging, snacking, etc.  It still is my favorite kind of day.  To share a day like that with my kids was just so special.  I hope they had as much fun as I did!

To top it off, we had dinner at Neptune's Net!  The atmosphere was great--just across from the ocean, we watched kite surfers while we ate.  And very casual--you order buckets of seafood at the counter and then find your pick of picnic table or booth, out on the porch or inside out of the wind. 
Perfect way to finish off the day!

PS.  It is still cold here at home.  Something about 40's in June is not alright with me.  If I go missing sometime soon, you might look for me in Malibu.