Weekend at the Lake

We decided to spend Memorial weekend up at Lake Arrowhead. It has been over a year since we were last up there and now that Averi is a bit older and a tad easier, we thought….why not?

We rented the same VRBO that suited our needs perfectly last time. Plenty of rooms, a fire place and a nice deck with a hot tub.

Once we hit our first destination on the mountain, Lou Eddies Pizza, Kaili hopped out of the truck and threw up. We high fived her for making it to the top and saving us a huge mess to clean up.

After a few sips of 7-up, she was ready for pizza.

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Full on delicious pizza, we checked into our rental, unloaded ALL of our stuff (crazy the amount of stuff we need for just a few days) and hit the store.

Then it was time to play.

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We wandered around the Village and stopped at a new Tap Room for a couple of coconut margs and snacks for the girls.

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It was absolutely beautiful up there.

Dinner was enjoyed on our patio. Grilled rib-eyes and wine, while the girls splashed in the hot tub.

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After bath and pajamas, we indulged in S’mores while the sun went down.

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The next morning we woke up and headed out for a hike to “Heart Rock”.  We had zero phone service by the time we got to where we thought the beginning of the trail was but it turned out we were in the wrong spot. Luckily other people were in the same predicament and working together, finally managed to find where we needed to be. Unfortunately, Averi decided she was done with nature and her mood went to shit.

There were loads of Ladybugs all over the place, to the point where it was actually making my skin crawl.

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About a 1/4 mile up the trail Averi had given up and I had to carry her. I wanted to throw in the towel and just let Shane and Kaili finish it,  but Shane talked me into continuing. We took turns carrying the little terrorist to the end. We didn’t really get to explore the waterfall or the heart shape rock since the girls were well, you know.

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Kaili did a great job and had a lot of fun, that is until I told her I wanted to take her picture. Tell me how you really feel Kaili.

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Shane carried Averi all the way back to the paved road where she managed to use her two feet to make it to the truck.

We were all famished and ready for lunch so we stopped at a highly recommended Mexican spot that sits cliffside the mountain. The food was really good as were the views.

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After lunch, Averi’s mood lifted so we headed down to the village for some play time.

The girls finally got to go on a few the rides, something we have been hearing about nonstop since we arrived.

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The pirate ship was the clear favorite.

Then it was our turn, we sat outside and had margaritas while the girls had ice cream.

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We wandered up to the grocery store for some goodies to build a charcuterie board for dinner.

Once the girls were down for the night, we sat outside enjoying our meal when a visitor let himself into our yard.

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We tried calling the number on his tag but no one answered. Shane said he remembered seeing this dog the last time we were here so while he walked down to that house, Zuess and I enjoyed some cured meats. Then he was happily reunited with his owners.

Sunday morning after some espresso’s made with my new Staresso, which I LOVE, we went back down to the lake for lunch.

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We shared some appetizers and a few cocktails, which were all really good.

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A neighbor of the house we were staying at invited us to a block party later that afternoon. It was an interesting group of people and after an hour or so of chatting, we had had enough and decided to head back to the house to try and eat up some leftovers.

Before heading home Monday morning, we took once last glimpse of the lake. We left beautiful weather and headed back into town welcomed by a grey sky and cooler weather.

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It’s always a good time up there and I am ooking forward to enjoying a Christmas in Lake Arrowhead some time in the future.

Little Getaways

Kaili had this week off of school for Spring break and instead of us sitting around the house we joined Shane for a week in Oxnard, Ca.

We left Sunday early in the day and made a pit stop in Irvine for a visit with family before making our way up to Malibu. The drive along the coast up there is just breathtaking. We stopped at Paradise Cove for lunch. With tables in the sand and amazing views, you really do feel like you’ve reached Paradise.

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We easily devoured a bottle of Cakebread 2012 Merlot for a very reasonable price considering where we were. It’s hard to beat sitting on the beach with a good drink while the kids are entertaining themselves in mother natures playground. The food was underwhelming, which seems to be a reoccurring theme for us lately but the atmosphere made up for it.

dThe last leg of the drive was an easy one and we got to the hotel by check in time. Our room that was supposed to be ready, wasn’t, and being a Hilton Honors member we got upgraded to an ocean view suite. Still full from lunch we decided to skip dinner and just go with happy hour beverages. We watched the sun set on the balcony before tucking in for the night.

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Shane still had to work so the girls and I were on our own for most of the days.  We played at the beach in the mornings and then spent the afternoons at the pool.

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One day I brought my book down thinking I might be able to read a chapter and then I laughed and laughed and laughed at myself.

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We would meet Shane at happy hour in the evenings and then head into town for dinner. We had some very good steamed mussels at la Petit Cafe in the harbor, after we managed to make it back to the hotel bar to catch most of the USMNT soccer match. The girls ate ice cream on the floor, we had some wine, it was perfect.

We also found a good Mexican spot in Oxnard called Cabo Seafood grill and Cantina and everyone was happy with their meal, a rarity these days.

Thursday morning we took one last dip in the hot tub before packing up for the drive home.

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The hotel service wasn’t as good as it should be for a pricey resort but overall the stay was very nice. One of my favorite things is being able to hear the waves crashing from the couch as the ocean breeze blows through the room.

Kaili was complaining of an earache on the drive home and Averi was super tired and cranky. Turns out K had swimmers ear but luckily we caught it fast and she’s good as new now.

Little getaways like these are just what the doctor ordered.

Wine About It

We spent most of the day wandering from winery to winery. Downtown Walla Walla is basically one after the other, the only problem  is deciding which ones to skip. You could easily wine taste for days just downtown.

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We started the trip with a list of wineries we haven’t been to so we could try some new wines.  Some were great, some too expensive and a few just amazing.

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K Vitners, also known as Charles Smith has  very good wine, especially their Syrah’s.

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We headed to the airport to try a few new ones and revisit an old favorite.

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Of course we had to pop into Sleight of Hands since we are members.

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And luckily two of the wineries we are always hoping to visit but are always closed were open.

Va Piano was a great experience. Not only did they have playmates for the girls,

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we met the winemaker. He gave us a taste of his Rose out of the barrel and although it wont be ready for months is was already delicious, all of his wines were five star.

We got to visit the cellar and witness the aftermath of a wedding proposal.

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Hard to follow that but we still tried. Dusted Valley had some above decent wines and a large lot for the girls to run around.

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We have done some pretty good damage in the wine department.

On the Road Again

I pulled Kaili out of school a tad early so we could hit the road, destination Walla Walla.  The girls did good, better than I expected to be honest. After a pretty decent dinner in Stockton, we finished up the days drive in Dixon, a town outside of Sacramento. It was 8:30 p.m by the time we were all ready for bed and the girls crashed without a peep.

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Dinner at Harvest Moon, Stockton, Ca.

After a quick hotel breakfast we were back on the road again by 8:00 a.m. It was a long day in the car and the weather wasn’t great. We saw Mount Shasta and a few beautiful rainbows but besides that our sights were set on Newport, Oregon.

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We hoped to get there while there was still daylight but by the time we checked in to our hotel and made it down to the bay front for dinner, it was pitch dark outside. Dinner was good, we have been wanting to try Mo’s for a long time, it was fun to check that box.

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Too cold and dark to walk around, so we went back to the room to get the girls and myself in bed. I fell asleep before 8:00 p.m.

Kaili woke up around 6:00 a.m so we had an early start to the day. With cheese and ice cream on the mind, we made our way to the Tillamook factory. Kaili seemed to enjoy watching the cheese packaging process and pretending to milk the fake cow. Averi was just enjoying being out of the car and neither of them seemed to care about the cheese. We were disappointed to find out the cafe was only serving breakfast since we had our minds set on grilled cheese, so we settled for ice cream instead.

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The only other stop we planned on before arriving in Walla Walla was Multnomah falls.  It was a perfect spot for a bathroom break and a stretch of the legs.

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On the third day and the final stretch  of the trip, Averi decided to give into a nap. It was bliss.

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We made our arrival into the town and conveniently drove by one of the wineries we are members of, so of course we had to stop.

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It’s good to be here and it’s good not having to get back into the car for another day of driving tomorrow. Maybe wine tasting downtown instead.

 

Tourists

We took Friday and Saturday to be tourists. We spent Friday  wandering around Pepé beach and walked up the coast to Barra beach. We stumbled upon a farmers market serving fruit, fish, cheese and freshly made pastels.

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The weather threatened to dribble on us and although the sun was hiding the weather was still enjoyable.

We tucked into a kiosk by the beach for some drinks and a snack.  fullsizerender-3The views and the waves were hard to beat.

We picked to end our day at the Windsor hotel for a last adult beverage. They had a rooftop pool and bar and since the weather wasn’t perfect for sunning we had the place to ourselves.

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We planned a dinner with Wags, his mom and Patti. I really wanted us to try Porcao a local Churrascaria  but the one in Barra was closed for renovations. Instead we went to Fogo de Chao, which we have been to in San Diego…so much for branching out.

The food was fine but again we were disappointed in the salad bar offerings. Dessert was and has always been the best part of the meals here.

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Saturday morning while lounging around our place I was trying to find something new for us to check out. I came across a TripAdvisor  forum talking about a little island right by Pepe beach. They have a water taxi that will take you across the lagoon for 1 Real$ and once there we could eat and drink at some of the local restaurants and bars. Shane did the legwork to figure out where we find this ferry taxi and then we called an Uber and set out.

We were let off on the road and told to walk down an alley way and the ferry was waiting for us.

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Once we were on the small island we tried to map our way to one of the restaurants but the island is so small that even google maps was confused. So we just wandered around.

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Finally we found one of the places that we were looking for. Clearly it was well marked, amazing anyone can find it.

fullsizerender-8This is when we really felt like we were in Brazil. It was low key, tropical and scenic.

We sat along the water and took in the sights while we waited for our order of pastel de carne.

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We spent a few hours on the island and then left for the beach to meet Wags  for a last hurrah. We met some very nice and interesting people, did some dancing and enjoyed the night with the cariocas. It was a great finale to our trip, now it’s time to get ready for closing ceremonies. I can’t believe the two weeks is almost up.

 

Pepé Beach

Im not getting these posts out very fast, we have closed down the Olympic venue two nights in a row and aren’t getting to bed until after midnight…yawn.

Monday morning we met the ladies out on the street, grabbed two cabs and headed down to Pepe beach. The sidewalks are sprinkled with Kiosks serving beer and snacks. One in particular, an Argentina place serving fresh fish was supposed to be really good. But once we got down there we realized it was closed, probably for the winter. Plan B. We walked, up and down the beach, planning our next visit. Maybe we will paddle board, definitely take a dip in the ocean and rent a beach chair to sit and soak up some rays.

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There were benches lining the pier and under each one was a cat along with a bowl of water and kibble. img_9948

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We wandered into a seafood restaurant and was greeted by  a very humorous and kind Mâitre D. Sharing a couple of mediocre dishes, seafood paella and fish stew we watched the palm trees sway in the tropical breeze.

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Once our bellies were full we took advantage of one of the kiosks. Kicked our feet up and sipped on a cold drink.

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After lapping up the sights we jumped in taxis and went back to our condos to prep for tennis. On our way home, our taxi was hit by another car, we were fine. The drivers got out, yelled at each other for a few minutes and then we were back on our way.

The tennis part of the day wasn’t as good as the beach. Wags had a tough match against GB and lost his chance at the gold medal. It was a long night and hit on our emotions a tad too hard. We didn’t get back until very late and we were out once our heads hit the pillow.

 

 

 

Disneyland Day 2

I hope you didn’t think I abandoned you. Day 2 is a long one so tuck in with some coffee, wine, burritos…whatever you love.

I can’t tell you who woke up first, probably me but it was early per usual. This was our “magic” morning at Disneyland and we HAD to be in line by 7:45. Turns out they actually let guests into the park at 7:45 but you don’t get passed Main street until 8:00 and that is because all of the United States is behind you, it’s got to be a semi fair game….I guess?

All Kaili was asking for was the Dumbo ride and since we didn’t get that done day one, this was my first stop. I took both the girls and they loved it. We hopped over to another ride because it was pretty empty. Turns out the Alice in Wonderland ride was a tad scary, Averi wasn’t sure about it and Kaili asked immediately when we would be done but they weren’t crying so we were good.

The one thing we did want to do during that “magic” hour was the Nemo Submarine ride.

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Averi pretty much loved it between her bouts of concern.

We then headed to an adult ride. Thunder mountain requires riders to be 40′, Kaili is 39′. We were told by some other parents in line that they are sticklers when it comes to height and we would later find out that was true. So even though Kaili insisted Grandpa stretched her out and she was tall enough, I took the girls for a stroll  while the rest of them could have a go.

Us girls ventured over to Tarzan’s tree house, Kaili skipped up while I dragged Averi with me.

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Having just  watched Tarzan the day before,  Kaili had her eye out for that Leopard who may  was lurking in the tree tops.

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We wandered our way through Tomorrowland and it was out.of.control.

And as  early as it was, it was just a preview of what was to come.

Kaili wanted to go on a ride in Tomorrowland so we waited 45 minutes for another ride that goes around in circles, much like the Dumbo ride. I’m pretty sure we need to bring back the merry go rounds to our playgrounds so we can forgo this boring children  ride people pay thousands of dollars for.

We made our way over to California Adventure and it was a tad overwhelming. I felt like we had done so much already, I couldn’t wrap my head around what was left to do…but there was a lot. Luckily Mickey was one of the first things  we saw heading into CA so that took some pressure off.

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We also ran into Doc McStuffin’s and now they are besties.

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After a few kiddy rides in Bugs Life….

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Food was on our mind. We grabbed some pretty good clam chowder and not so great Mexican over by Paradise Pier, beer is always good.

Our hotel room looks over CA land so the Mickey ferris wheel is a fixture you can’t hide from even the littles. Kaili begged to go on and once everyone agreed,  we payed our dues in line, but the ride was SO worth it…although Shane will disagree.

IMG_8499 We got the rocking car because there was no way standing in line with two kids for a boring ride is a good idea. It turns out that rocking car is a thrill ride for Kaili and Grandpa! Averi was in tears with her head in my lap.

We dragged the tired kids, but not Kaili because she is never tired, back to the hotel. Averi went down for a nap and grandma rested along side her while Shane and I took Kaili to the pool.

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Our early bird dinner reservations were approaching, we packed up the crew and headed out to the Rainforest Cafe. It wasn’t my top pick but I thought it would be perfect to help keep the overtired kids entertained. I was wrong. The place is a joke but it’s hard to compete with a tired Averi. To sum it up, my food wasn’t good, service wasn’t good and my kid wasn’t good.

After overpaying for shitty food, we confidently headed back out to CA land to take on what we hadn’t yet mastered. In other words, we got a fast pass to Tower of Terror and Cars, Radiator Springs.

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Unfortunately, the Cars ride had a 40′ height restriction. We didn’t bother to put Kaili through the ringer but I think we both regret not trying. She would have LOVED that one!

Gramps and I were the only ones that went on Tower of Terror…”because food”  meaning no-one else wanted to ride that because they just ate. But it’s the best ride there.

After grabbing a churro we went back to the hotel to watch the light show from our hotel room. We fell asleep one by one, grandpa and Ave’s weren’t far apart.