*on the way to Emerald Bay...

10 seconds later:

I love this picture! When your babies start to grow up, you get to hold their sleeping bodies less and less, and I savored the moment snuggling her up in this little nest on the floor.  She stayed asleep here on the boat for over an hour while the rest of us hiked up to the falls.  Ben stayed with her :)

Vera was a decent little trooper on the hike - only complaining that she was hot about a dozen times :)  I say that seriously - she usually isn't up for much of a hike, but she did really well!

Emerald Bay is so beautiful - huge tall trees, Tahoe granite everywhere, smell of the Sierras...

I love this picture of us in front of the Vikingsholm just after Edie woke up:

*anyone else get that "on the way to Emerald Bay" song stuck in their head?
*as a child I always hunkered down in the bow of the boat on the way to Emerald Bay, sure we were going to crash and die :)


*lake hahoe

... At the lake for a couple weeks, having a lovely time!

Edie calls it Lake Hahoe - on a hike up to the little angora lakes she pointed out "baby hahoe" :)



As much as I love to travel, I am lamenting a bit the lack of a lazy summer routine.  Here's some photos of normal life from in-between travels:

I planted even more peas this year - they are just so tasty and so much fun to eat!

A beautiful coolish morning at Red Butte a few weeks ago.  Did you know Edie loves babies?  In-their-face kissing, saying hiiii, patting them not-so-gently on the head kind of loving.  Jubilee ["Bobo" or something like it] is definitely one of her favorite babies!


Our neighborhood pool - one block away!

Trying to capture Edie in the air:

Eloise inside on a hot day:

Just today we had Stella over!  They have been in the Netherlands about 18 months now.. the girls write letters sometimes and still talk about each other a lot.  Vera is always asking - is Stella going to bed now? Is Stella just waking up??  Today they picked right up and played so well together, very sweet :)  Stella speaks fluent Dutch now since starting Kindergarten there in February - so amazing! 

Edie and I are off to Nevada tomorrow to get help with preparations for Liz' wedding!  Ben and Vera will drive over this weekend.  This will be the first time [besides the night Edie was born] that I will be away from Vera!!! 


*el camino

On both legs of our trip to California we were forced to take major detours: on the way down, I-15 was closed due to a chemical spill, on the way back it was closed due to a wildfire.  It's not often and entire freeway is closed, yet we were lucky enough to catch two closures in one trip :)  The first time, we took a detour a little north to Pahrump, Nevada and then into California along the southern edge of Death Valley. It added some to our already long drive, but it was worth it - so beautiful.  You probably know that I love Nevada and it's barren, arid landscapes!!  Only one picture..

On the way home we decided to take the detour through Zion National Park [as opposed to waiting all night for freeway to open], which we'd never seen.  It was absolutely amazing - we can't wait to go back and see it again.  It was dusk and we were making a quick decision whether to find a place to stay the night or drive all the way home.  Edie was being a little fussy and not sleeping well, so thankfully we happened upon "the last room" [do they all tell you that??] in some junction. 

It was so beautiful and so not like anything you've ever seen.  I will also always remember singing *twinkle twinkle little star* the entire drive through the park... Edie was fighting sleep and if I tried to fade the song away or even change the lyrics she would rouse and yell more toto-toto!!!  It was pretty funny.

We had some dessert before bed at this classic small town touristy diner.  Edie occupied herself pouring all our waters into the coffee cup and onto the floor - we were to tired to intervene.  Our "motel" room was a makeshift cabin apparently attached to the owner's house - a little odd, but clean.  It would have been comfortable had all four of us not been squished into the one queen bed :)  It was a fun little family adventure that we will definitely remember!

 The next day we continued our detour route... at one point we stopped in the middle of the road for 20 minutes to watch this herd of sheep along the hillside and crossing the road - the girls were so cute and excited.

This wasn't the fire that had closed the freeway, but it was pretty impressive!  


Anyway, thankful to be home for now ...



 A few days after returning from Nevada, we took an impromptu road trip down to Orange County. Ben is basically done with his dissertation, but can't defend until a certain committee member comes back from a trip. Matty was planning a big beach birthday celebration - it's always a bummer to miss out on the fun things going on down there, and Ben has some free time, so we figured why not just make the trip this time :) It's always so wonderful to be down there with the family just doing whatever. This time, however, really felt like a vacation. We went to a different beach every single day - the girls stayed home with Mike and Rosie a couple of the days I laid on the sand and read while Ben got to surf and just be in the water and with his brother. The first time they ran out into the water together I got a little lump in my throat - it's something he has sorely missed over the last 8 years and I really really wanted that job for him in Irvine :( Anyway, so thankful we had the opportunity to get away for an extra long weekend and so thankful for the awesome families we have!!!

Seriously, this lunch at Bear Flag in Newport hit the spot: good salty homemade tortilla chips to dip in poke + guacamole, smoked albacore tuna, cucumber salad...

The last day we went to Shaw's Cove in Laguna - every time we go here I always take a little hour for myself to walk along the path down to the shops.  So needed!!

Edie was a little star - so friendly and fun with her uncles and Lola + Grandpop.  And the cat, and Tula, and feeding the bird...  Basically she was in heaven!

first day we started at Newport:

Later that afternoon they body surfed at Victoria. 
It was gorgeous, I'd never seen the water so clear!

 The birthday party was at San Onofre. Some of Matty's friends got there early enough to reserve this shady pavilion:.

Rosie made spam musubi - they were so good and such a hit that she had to hide some so the later-comers would get one :)

Vera has loved Melissa from the moment she met her :)

Ben pushed V out on the surfboard for a little while, but she got cold quickly and was probably a litlte scared. She spent the rest of the time in heaven flying this little kite:

Crystal Cove:

last day at Shaw's Cove:

kisses for Pop-pop:


*weekend in Mevada

[Mevada - Vera can't seem to get that it's Nevada :)]

Summer is pretty busy this year!!! A couple weeks ago the girls and I went to Carson to help host a shower for Liz - a fun, pretty, classic ladies' tea. We had smoked salmon + herb butter and cucumber + mint tea sandwiches, cookies by Gianna, delicious chocolates and these brown butter cocoa nib cookies that I've been wanting to make for a while. My mom brought out all her pretty tea cups, silver and china and cut roses for her garden.

I made this fabric garland.  I got a little nostalgic making it, thinking of all the different fabrics coming together: things I've made for other people, fabric handed down from Grandma Kay, things my mom made for the girls and now all for Liz' shower and maybe she'll use it in her someday-baby's room :)

We also got to spend some time up at the Lake with Sarah and her kids - the weather was just perfect and the girls had fun playing in the sand... We'll be back there soon!

We were also there for my mom's 70th birthday!

We went out to the Ranch one windy afternoon to see my Grandma.  They played in the toybox and then we had cookies and milk at the table - so fun to see my kids doing the things I used to :)  Such a nostalgic place for me - even the sound of the wheels on the gravel road brought back memories!


 lots of fun pictures of my Grandpa JohnD around -
I know she misses him as much as ever:

My dad is always popular with the little ones.  Edie calls him Papa Thith and my mom Mamo Lala :)  Here is Papa Sam pushing the girls around on the train...

Here was Doctor Papa Sam removing Vera's funny bone. He also removed her gizzard and her appendix several times. She could have played this all day!

Elena happened to be in town the night of the shower and we got to hang out for a couple hours. I hadn't seen her in like 6 years! Our kids got along great - they pretended they were ants and collected every single pillow ["crumbs"] from my parents' entire house and put them on the top bunk.