July 5, 2016

Treasures of an Old California Mine

Over 4th of July weekend we went camping in the Eastern Sierras. The bonus was a Jeep ride to explore a deserted California mine. It's called the Chemung Mine, which may not have been gold, (possibly silver or ore) but the history is unclear so it's hard to say. 

Weathered wood, bullet shells, rusty nails, tattered roofs and gigantic gears were easily accessible without any crowds or tourist centers. We took our chances walking around, which was thrilling for older kids who don't usually get to do dangerous things. I was fascinated by the 100 year old nuts and bolts holding the beams together, reflecting a century of accomplishment. 

April 19, 2016

Yosemite Spring 2016

This is our third year in a row spending spring break in Yosemite. It's a great time of year because it's possible to get a campsite mid-week, and the waterfalls are usually in full swing. This being an El Nino year, the falls were doing their absolute best at drought busting! Some highlights of this trip included making it midway on the Upper Yosemite Falls trail, and climbing 700 Mist Trail steps near Vernal Falls the next day. My only regret is that the Pacific Crest Dogwood trees had not bloomed yet. But as you can tell by the blue skies, they were budding and well on their way! As always, I can't wait to return.

February 17, 2016

Shrek: Preparing for the School Musical

We waited years to participate in the school musical. Some type of hesitation always came up, usually about the massive time commitment. But this year we had a plan. It would be a family commitment, known well in advance, and we would dive in and meet the challenge head on. So schedules were re-arranged, sports were put on hold, and full days (and weekends) were endured. The kids jumped into their roles, and hearing them sing songs at home was an added bonus. I was tasked with set and stage production, and am enjoying the process so far. We turned our carport into a set painting studio, which makes me think...why don't I paint outside more often? The big performance dates are yet to come. Will I still be standing two weeks from now? Let's hope so, because I certainly don't want to turn into an Ogre.

January 3, 2016

Winter Break 2015

It feels like we fit in a year's worth of fun into two short weeks of winter break. From decking the halls to skiing the hills, our minds are filled with a flurry of memories. We cut the tree, braved a storm, welcomed friends and family, baked cookies, rode a train of lights, cooked a traditional Christmas dinner, visited cousins, celebrated the New Year (via Squaw Valley Torchlight Parade!), and discovered new backcountry on our favorite mountain. Now my feet are up, and I'm already missing 2015. It was a fantastic year!

December 16, 2015

Nutcracker: Behind The Scenes

A major highlight of this holiday season was participating in our local production of the Nutcracker. My youngest daughter had two roles. She was the youngest dancer in the opening party scene, and she was also the mini-shepardess in the variation scenes. Parents were required to volunteer, and my role as chairperson of production was to oversee set up and tear down. The floor, also known as the Marley, was taped down tightly across the stage. The backdrops were hung with shoe-tie knots for easy release after the production. Stage hands used weights and pulleys to manage each scene of the ballet. Everything, inside and out, was just magic. Thank you, Ballet America, for motivating dancers throughout the years.