California State Fair 2016

Today was Kennedy’s Nana’s last day in town after spending the last three weeks with us while Matt was away for training in Texas. The fair trip last year was a bit of a flop because Kennedy was just “a bit too small” for any of the rides, so I was really looking forward to going this year. The plan was that we would get motivated early and head to the fair to avoid the heat, but since my broody teenager got a new computer and played on it until 3:00 AM the night before, he was “too tired” to get up at 11:00 AM; teenagers are jerks, so we left without him. Before entering the fair, we had a few tickets to give away, since Nivek wouldn’t be using them with a friend like we has planned. The funny thing about giving things away is that you really have to convince the person that you aren’t trying to scam them somehow. I pretty much had to throw them at this woman who was waiting in line for tickets, and I’m still not completely sure that she believed they were legit. She seemed grateful, but skeptical.I would have just held on to the tickets and went at a later date, but I bought one of those 4-pack deals and they all have to be used on the same day.

Sidenote: I think the Shopkins characters are super cute, and their stuffed plushes were a common carnival game prize… but I can’t be the only one who thinks the lipstick looks like either a) dog chapstick or b) uncircumcised wiener. ANYHOW… Overall, we had such a great time. Kennedy’s joy was so infectious, it was hard not to feel a bit of wonderment over the whole experience. Until next year.

Apple Hill – Camino, CA

This morning we headed up to Goyette’s North Canyon Ranch (Apple hill) to pick some apples and enjoy a little bit of quiet family time together before Matt headed off to work. Truthfully, we chose this farm because it seemed to be away from a lot of the other more glitzy farms, and we couldn’t have been happier with that decision.

After picking a box of apples we headed over to Rainbow Orchards for some hot apple cider donuts and apple cider (ammmmazing!). Aside from the fact the air was a bit smoky from the nearby fires, it was exactly what we needed.

Tank top and Shorts | Misha Lulu

Sunday Farmer’s Market Flowers

Aside from the fact that I (practically) live spitting distance from the Sacramento Central Farmer’s Market (8th & W), more often than sometimes, Kennedy and I will venture over to the farmer’s market on Sunday mornings with the sole purpose of buying flowers and coming home to arrange them. Because this farmer’s market is pretty busy, and you can expect to get bumped abruptly pretty much around every turn, it definitely does not have the nice, calm, coffee-sipping feel of the smaller markets. While I do really like the broad variety of seasonal produce this farmer’s market offers, we tend to do more swearing than strolling, and just quickly head to the same few booths each time. Luckily, the best flower stand and our favorite fruit stand are on the same far end, so getting in and out quickly has become an art form.

Once we pick out our favorite bunch of flowers (15 dollars fills 2 large or 3 medium vases in our house), we head back home where it is Kennedy’s job to sort them into the vases.

Disclaimer:
This might be the truth. Kinda of. Maybe. Ish. I sort the bundle of flowers into stacks based on type, and hand her the flowers one by one while persuasively suggesting which vase each flower should go in (think: crazy micro-manager boss with the voice of your 90-year-old grandmother). Once she has all of the flowers in the vases, I might use the good ole “Look! Is that a pink elephant?! LOOOOOOOK!” so that I can perform a quick switcheroo, before helping carry them inside.

She is SUCH a great helper.

Shirt | Wren and James
Shorts | Vintage Wranglers
Monster Slippers | Carter’s

A Day with the Friedman’s – Chico, CA

Last weekend, Kennedy and I abandoned ship and headed back down to Chico for a night away. Mcrae’s daughter Lydia is only a few weeks younger than Kennedy and it is interesting to see the personality differences between the girls, even at such a young age. While Lydia is extroverted, cuddly, sturdy, and adventurous, Kennedy tends to pick her people cautiously, look before she leaps, and is overall much more fragile. We throughly enjoyed putting make-up on Lydia, Jeremiah’s awesome Raphael costume, eating burritos from Gordo Burrito, good company, and drinking a few Moscow Mules under the stars once the kids were off to sleep.

Toddler Blanket | Sueno Shop

California State Fair

I really had no intention of going to the California State Fair this year, but after being handed a couple of passes and a parking voucher, I felt guilty just letting them go to waste. First, I tried to pawn them off on my son; I was sure that the lure of bad food would override his dislike for amusement park rides (nope!). Then I offered them to a few friends, all of which promptly responded with, “pass.” So, it was settled, Kennedy and I were going solo and we were going to have the best time ever.

It’s not that I dislike the fair, necessarily; I just feel like every year I wonder why I went, and this year was no exception. My main motivation for going, aside from the free part, was to take Kennedy to see the animals and go down the big slide (on my lap) one zillion times. We arrive right at 10 AM, before the rides and carnival attractions opened, in hopes to avoid the heat and pushy fair goers. Kennedy ogled the Alpacas from a safe distance, “no mommy,” and saw her life flash before her eyes at the sight of the huge bulls, “nooooooooo mommmmmmy.” Once we hit the lambs I was sure that we were going to get to make our introduction (hell, Mary had one, remember) but she b-lined toward the exit and that concluded or animal experience.

From there, we had a bit of time until the fair rides opened so we meandered over to the photo booths, and I tortured her by making her sit in a dirty, confined space while I made stupid faces to a reflective piece of glass (see exhibit “A” above).

Just up the hill from the photo booths, and easily the highlight of our State Fair experience, we listened to the Street Drum Corps and grabbed some ketchup with a side of corndog (see above). After drinking her weight in ketchup, I walked Kennedy over to one of the random measuring sticks and was excited and surprised to see that she reached the 36” minimal requirement for rides, so I bought a pack of tickets from the booth and we headed toward the fairway.

I had a list of the family friendly rides and tickets in hand, and when I approached the Dumbo ride, the carnie pointed me toward a height sign, in which I put Kennedy next to and she was too small. Odd, I had just measured her a few minutes prior and she appeared to meet the height requirement. Hrmmmm. While I was annoyed, and a bit confused, I figured we could easily blow our 25 tickets on the carousel and slide, so it wasn’t a huge deal and we moved on. After what felt like forever, “up, mommy, up,” we got in line for the carousel.

Well wouldn’t you know… “You must be 36” to ride this ride, even with an adult.”
REALLY!? FOR THE (expletive delete) CAROUSEL!

I’m sure you can guess what the sign at the slide said too.

With our lower lips extended and after handing off our tickets to a random bystander, we put our tails between our legs and made the long walk back to parking lot Z; we were home by Noon. Part of me wants to say that we wont go next year, but in truth, I know she will be big enough and a whole different version of herself by then, so it is entirely possible that I will be suckered into another year.

Kennedy’s 2nd Birthday – Mendocino, CA.

A few months back I got this wild idea to invite my and Matt’s parents to come and stay with us in a cabin in Mendocino for Kennedy’s birthday. Matt’s parents flew in on Thursday morning from North Carolina and we spent most of their first day packing for our trip to the beach. Friday morning, Matt loaded the dogs and his dad into the old Volvo (odometer stopped at 189k), and I had Nana and the kids in my car. Overall, the drive was unremarkable and we arrived at the Bay House in about four hours. We arrived at the house around 3:00 PM and were completely taken aback by the beauty of it all. The front yard was perfectly landscaped and once you walked around the porch to the back of the house, you found yourself staring at a simple wooden bench on top of a cliff. Much of the rest of our Friday was spent settling in, cooking some fish on the BBQ, playing Spades, and staring off into the expanse of the ocean.

Saturday we woke up early (thank you Kennedy) and made our way into Mendocino to walk around the shops. Right off, Kennedy threw an epic tantrum that landed her on my back in the Ergo carrier. Luckily, it wasn’t long before I had coffee-in-hand from Moody’s and she was fast asleep. Having spent many summers in Mendocino, I tend to have my trip fairly well rehearsed and mostly look forward to stopping at Rainsong Shoes  (for shoes, obviously) and Old Gold for some of the most beautiful jewelry I’ve ever seen. After that, I’m happy just strolling through the shops until I get to have the most messy-great mango curried chicken pita from Cultured Affair Cafe. The rest of the evening involved some BBQ chicken, the dogs at the beach, and a late night Spades rematch.

Sunday was another early morning (again, thank you Kennedy) and her actual birthday. The afternoon was spent wandering Fort Bragg (I found a black pair of Miz Mooz sandals that I love-love and Kennedy had an epic slice of pizza) and sitting down on the sad, now-commercialized, Glass beach. In the evening, Kennedy opened her gifts and looked on in amazement and joy as everyone sang her happy birthday (my favorite moment of the weekend). Overall, the trip felt both calm and chaotic. It felt good to actually spend the weekend away with my parents (I cannot remember the last time I spent so much time with my father), and together as a blended family. I am hoping that the terrible parts of the terrible twos are gentle, and the rest is slow moving, or at least, that Matt is nearby and I can say, “Not it” when I need to.

GIngham Jacket | Gap, Yeah Sweatshirt  | Mini & Maximus, Skirt | Misha Lulu, Strawberry Shoes | Mini Melissa, Sandals | Saltwater

Berkeley Aquatic Park – Berkeley, CA.

So, I know we went Disc golfing last weekend, but we had so much fun we wanted to go again. This time we headed to Berkeley where it was a nice (almost chilly) 73 degrees. Actually, it was cold enough to where we ventured through worlds most lame intersection to Target for a few sweaters because the shade and wind had a little bite. Of course, as you can see from the photos, my two weather testers failed because we obviously didn’t need them and will be returning them today.

This course was fun, but there were definitely a lot of opportunities to go hunting/ lose your disc (-2). The course stayed along the waterway, which created a pretty and sparkly backdrop to it all. On the way there we finally tired the Dutch Bros. and while it was good, it was just good. But, we’re not foo-foo coffee drinkers either, so maybe that’s with the hype. Kennedy really enjoyed the cups though, so kudos there. The trip ended with Kennedy forcing kisses out of her brother, and Nivek reluctantly giving in and trying to avoid them. Oh tweenagers, don’t you know these are the best of memories.

Auburn Regional Park – Auburn, CA.

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Matt use to play a lot of disc golf with his friends. Neither Nivek nor I had really ever played. Since our Sunday morning was thwarted by football picture day, we opted to keep our Sunday closer to home and headed to Auburn District Regional Park for some disc golf. Overall, we all had a great time. Matt asserted his manly dominance. Nivek whined about the trees jumping in front of him. I learned I am profane when it comes to Frisbee flinging, and Kennedy was a trooper… A filthy, snotty, beautiful trooper.

See also:
Exhibit A: The first photo was taken with my phone right before we left.
Exhibit B: The last photo was taken right after I got her out if the car at home.

Keep it classy, Kennedy.

Lake Almanor, CA.

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We woke early Sunday morning, grabbed our coffee and hit the road. Usually we don’t drive quite so far for our Sunday road trips, but since this included some pretty great friends, babies, and a cabin on the lake, we were all in. It took us about 3 hours to get there; the roads were surprisingly clear and the babe slept like a babe. Our friends (Mcrae & Mark) were at breakfast when we arrived so we unloaded the car onto the porch and headed up the side of the hill to this pretty sweet tee-pee that Jeremiah “the strong” and Mark made the day before. After about an hour we brought all of or stuff inside and Mcrae and I settled into and afternoon of chatting and babies while Mark and Matt opted to gain a man-card by fishing on the lake. Eventually, the boys returned with 3 trout, dinner was made, the babes were in bed and we played “Cards Against Humanity” late into the night. In the morning Mcrae made coffee and breakfast, and we slowly made our way to the car and back home. It was a perfectly simple and satisfying weekend.

Jumpsuit | Cotton Bottom

Mt. Judah / Pacific Crest Trail – Truckee, CA.

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When we woke up this morning, we really didn’t have a plan as to where we were going. After eating pancakes and hearing about the earthquake in Napa, we knew that we would not be heading in that direction for our Sunday trip. This, of course, ultimately led to last minute stress and crankiness on my part; it was Kennedy’s nap time and she wasn’t about to let that fact go unnoticed… and we still hadn’t a clue as to where we were going. With a quick google and a grumble, we loaded up two kids and two dogs for Mt. Judah with zero expectations. It really wasn’t until half way there that I realized we weren’t going to South Lake Tahoe, and that we might actually have a good time… and I needed to drink more coffee.

Kennedy snoozed the whole way. Phew. We arrived around noon and were immediately taken by how green and beautiful it all was. We parked just up the street from SugarBowl Resort, and walked back toward the Pacific Crest Trail. The beginning half of the hike was a long zigzag up the mountain. It really doesn’t take long before you want to pull out the camera. The views were beautiful, really. You would have no idea that the state was in droughtville. Kennedy spent most of the trip on my back, until Henry decided to poop out. Normally Huckleberry is the fatso of the group. This time Henry was panting heavily right off. I think the high altitude affected him more than the rest of us. As you can see, Matt ended up carrying a baby this time too. We wandered until about four when we decided to head back toward home.

Our trip ended with a few burgers from In-N-Out (and a grilled cheese). It was one of my more favorite hikes that we’ve had. Even though I wasn’t expecting much, I would really like to go again. Definitely recommend.

Harem Pants | Sweet Lucy Jack