My beautiful car hit the 100K marker this summer:
I love this car. I bought it in 2006. It’s taken numerous trips from the bottom of California to the top. It took Luke home from the hospital safely. It’s been littered with trash from the kids (and me), covered with stickers, towed in San Francisco, and other than some transmission work and regular care, has never broke down or given me problems. I used to say that when I had enough money I’d upgrade to a Volvo. I no longer think that. I’ll probably be a Subaru owner for ever.
This is the number of miles from Barcelona, Spain to San Luis Obispo, California, which is about the amount of miles our 16 year-old Spanish exchange student, Berta, traveled to stay with us this summer. Maddie begged to have a foreign exchange student stay with us for 3 weeks during the summer. I was hesitant at first, but Kirby convinced me it would be a good experience for Maddie, so I agreed. Plus, 3 weeks isn’t too much of a commitment. then I found out there would be a home inspection and interview, which I assumed we would fail given our “different” living situation. But we passed! I guess the Spanish (or at least Berta’s parents) think our living situation is quite normal. In fact, when Berta arrived and I was in the midst of arguing with Luke’s dad (see last entry), Berta was pretty astounded. She told me that her 12 year old brother still sleeps with her grandmother, that Spain has an “open-door” attitude to living with family and friends, and that being a single-parent is no big deal. “Why would anyone even ask,” she wondered.
I think I’ve gotta move to Spain.
Berta was a wonderful addition to our family. She was kind, spoke perfect English, and really enjoyed spending time here. Maddie and Luke had a great time with her as well.
(I think Berta loved shopping the most. That’s Maddie, Berta, and one of Maddie’s friends at Urban Outfitters. Luke is in the middle with the unicorn hat on. Oh Luke….)
(Maddie, her friends, and Berta enjoying Farmers’ Market)
The amount of miles we traveled for our summer vacation.
We stopped to see the elephant seals first.
Then we drove to Big Sir to camp.
(Thank God the river still had water. It was still low, though)
(The back of our campground. We lucked out with a great campsite, but we were attacked by ticks. Thank God the camp store had bug spray)
(A beautiful morning)
(Of course, Luke was the first up, so I built a fire and we discussed life according to Luke)
We departed Big Sur and stopped at a beautiful beach close to Carmel.
From there, we headed to the Santa Cruz mountains to camp at Big Basin. I’ve never been there before, but it was amazing. Surrounded by the redwoods, bathed in heat: this might be my new place to camp.
We took quite a few hikes:
(Sadly, there was barely any water in the creek)
(helps with relaxing)
After a fun night, we packed up camp, and went over the Golden Gate Bridge.
And to Healdsburg, where we met with my sister and her family, my Aunt Debbie and her husband, and my Uncle Michael for our annual holiday to watch my uncle compete in the Vineman Ironman. Thankfully, this year, he didn’t compete in the full ironman, but instead just did the AquaBike–the half marathon and half swim.
The house we all stayed in was right on the river and just beautiful. I loved being able to walk right down to the river with the kids and catch a deer crossing the property.
We watched my uncle’s race.
(I must say, all the hard work my uncle does really takes a toll on me as well. Hehe)
We had time to go to the Korbel estate:
And overall, just had a fantastic family vacation:
But we weren’t finished yet. We left Healdsburg and headed to Monterey, where I rented a hotel for the night.
We went to the Monterey Bay Aquarium:
And then I forced the kids to go to the Steinbeck Museum with me:
And then we finally made it home. Overall, it was the best family trip we’ve had in years.
The dollars I spent taking the kids to the fair for one day. Ridiculous. But the kids had fun, and I found out that Luke LOVES roller coasters and isn’t scared of them a all.
(Luke also happened to be a whiz at throwing darts at balloons. He won something at every stand we went to. Which was 4. Now we have 4 more stuffed animals to clutter our house.
(I saw a barn owl at the fair, which made it all worthwhile to me.)
Pretty much the amount of writing I did for myself. Did I write the few articles I told myself I would? Nope. Did I work on my novel at all? Nope. Did I write any blog posts? Just a few.
I had been feeling disappointed in myself for not taking advantage of the only free time I get during the year to work on my interests, but then I realized that this summer was really devoted to my family, and I feel alright about that. With Maddie and Luke starting school on Monday, I’m glad they had a great summer. Maddie even told me the other day, “Mom, this was the best summer I’ve ever had.”
That feels so much better than finishing an article.