Monday, August 25, 2008

Uncle Mike

Mike visited us in R/C last August, when Melina was 4 weeks old. Look what a difference a year makes!
And I had to throw this one in of my sweet Isabelle. One year ago, she looked like a "baby," and now she looks so grown up at age 5! Where does the time go??
We had a wonderful time with you, Uncle Mike! Hope the rest of your vacation was great!

The Morgan Family Vacation Part III (The End!)

The last part of our vacation:

After exploring old Mammoth City and the stamp mill we headed into town to get the keys for a 2-night stay in a condo (shower here we come!). We checked in uneventfully and unpacked and settled into our new place while I got the girls in the bathtub. Needless to say, there were no sheets on the beds, trash bags in the kitchen, or even towels, but this didn't seem to register to anyone until after 5 p.m. when the rental office had already closed. We called and it turned out they had made a mistake and we were supposed to be in a DIFFERENT unit, not the one we had just basically moved into. So... I continued bathing the girls while Jeff and Mike laboriously packed the cars up again, but this time, because of our trouble, we were upgraded to a very beautiful condo up the street (Isabelle told us later, however, that she liked the first condo because "the couch was soft"--go figure!).
The condo was upstairs, and what toddler wouldn't love climbing stairs? Melina sure does make my heart jump into my throat many a time though, as she has NO FEAR!
After settling into that place, the rest of us got our showers (both girls were angels despite of the late hour and not having eaten dinner yet), and then we all finally went out to eat. It was late, about 8:30, so while we waited for a table at Slocum's, Melina fell asleep in the sling. It was Isabelle's first "fancy" restaurant, and maybe it was the late hour or she was still in angel mode, but she did great and Melina slept the entire time! The food was delicious too! Back to the condo and to bed! On a side note, Thursday while still camping, we were inside eating dinner while Isabelle played outside with a couple of "glow" necklaces. She came into the trailer and said that one of them felt wet. It was and slowly dripping on her hands. It looked like it was on her face too, so we turned off the light and sure enough she had some on her glasses and under her left eye. I quickly cleaned her up and we immediately noticed a red welt under the same eye. We assumed it was a reaction to the fluorescent liquid and thought nothing else of it. The next morning, however, the red welt was now very swollen and inflamed, and we could see what looked like a bug bite (Jeff thought that perhaps the bug was attracted to the fluorescent light and bit her during that time). An antihistamine didn't help, but she didn't seem very bothered by it, it wasn't itchy, etc. Her eye became more swollen throughout the day and by evening looked like this:

Beautiful flowers growing outside of our condo (next to a golf course).
Saturday morning Isabelle's eye was even more swollen (she looked like an oriental girl), but still not bothersome, so I loaded her up with Zyrtec, we grabbed breakfast and lunch for the road, and headed out to now "officially"be cement hunters (remember this post?). We had a beautiful day and an indescribable view. We drove to the top of Deadman Pass, about 10,000 feet, very high above Red's Meadow.
We hiked down into this saddle and contemplated where the family from the "Lost Cement Mine" story might have camped.
We drove down a little ways and stopped for lunch with this magnificent view. We could see Mono Lake on our left and Crowley on our right.
Did we find the "Lost Cement Mine" you might ask. Well, do you think we'd say anything if we had???

Saturday evening brought us to dinner at Perry's, another very yummy restaurant in Mammoth.

Sunday morning we checked out of the condo, headed back to our trailer (we left it at Glass Creek for the 2 nights in the condo) while Mike did some shopping in Mammoth, packed up, and we were in Bishop for a late lunch at one of our favorites, Schat's Bakery, for delicious sandwiches! We made it home around 4 p.m., and oh, how good it feels to be at home!

Home, Sweet, Home!!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Morgan Family Vacation Part II

Our second part of our trip:

So, we left Grass Valley around 11 a.m. on Tuesday morning. We had lunch at In 'N Out Burger in Carson City. We sat in a booth and as we were getting ready to leave a man slid into the booth next to us. Melina reached out and touched him on the shoulder (she has a habit of touching strange men in public!). He turned around, smiled, and said "oh, look at the strawberry-blond baby!" I said, "do you really think she is? It's hard for me to tell." He said, "yes, definitely!" So, I am holding out hope that Miss Melina will be a redhead or strawberry blond after all!

Back on track, we had a very uneventful rest of the afternoon drive to Mammoth (both girls were angels--Melina was apparently used to driving long distances now and barely screamed). We arrived at Glass Creek campground around 4:45. We found our campsite, Jeff left us there, and then went into Mammoth to bring the trailer back. We then set up camp, etc. Unfortunately Jeff started coming down with a cold the night before so he was feeling pretty poorly by evening.

Wednesday we headed into town, picked up some groceries and sandwiches, and headed to our destination to meet Mike (he spent one more day in Grass Valley and left that morning). We drove high up a hill near Conway Summit and ate our lunch overlooking Mono Lake (a magnificent view!). Later down the hill while waiting for Mike, we spotted these pretty butterflies:

so Isabelle grabbed her binoculars for a closer look

We met Mike and then headed to Virginia Lakes to explore the area (none of us had ever been there).

Two beautiful lakes, and then we stopped at Virginia Creek and Isabelle did some swimming while the boys did some gold panning and Melina and I hung out.

We then went to an old mining town called Monoville Diggins. We had been there before, an old mine and cabin are all that exist now. To our amazement, as we drove up to the site, the claim's caretaker and his wife were there cleaning up the place and we were able to see the inside of the cabin and take a tour of the mine. What luck! It was quite an experience!

Then dinner in Lee Vining at Bodie Mike's as we enjoyed the outside atmosphere and the beautiful weather.

Thursday we headed to Bodie. Although we had been there 2 years ago, Mike had never been, but it was still very enjoyable to see this old mining town with such a history again. And to see the difference in Isabelle too, as I carried her in the sling at just 3 years old on our first visit, and this time she actually walked without (much) complaint.

Isabelle at age 3 in 2006:

And our family now, 2 years later!

Friday morning we relaxed in camp, and Isabelle and I did some fishing.

We then headed into Mammoth and found the old Mammoth City mining site and did some exploring there.

Then we hiked 1/4 mile out to an old stamp mill and did some exploring around there.

We stopped for this great view on the way to Mammoth City.

By this time, we're all definitely ready for showers, so we embark on the third part of our vacation and check into our condo!


We haven't "officially" started homeschooling yet for Isabelle's kindergarten year, but Sunday night I reminded Isabelle that "regular" school was starting the next day. I asked her what kind of schedule she would like to do when we started our school, and she decided she would like to homeschool after breakfast while in pj's and be dressed with hair done, teeth brushed, etc. before Jeff gets home from lunch. She wanted to start on Monday (the next day), and while we don't have her kindergarten curriculum yet, she has many workbooks to choose from, so we have maintained this schedule for 3 days now and it has worked out very well. Melina gets a little trying at times, so I will need to come up with things to occupy her with when Isabelle needs my full attention, but that will come with time (hopefully!).

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Morgan Family Vacation 2008 Part I

My thought is that if I break up our vacation into smaller parts, it will be less daunting to blog, so here's an account of our stay in Grass Valley:

We left for our 9-hour drive Friday morning, August 8. Isabelle only got car sick twice (basically an hour into the trip around Lone Pine and then a few minutes before arriving in Grass Valley), and Melina slept a total of about 3-1/2 to 4 hours and only screamed pretty much the rest of the time, but we arrived safely to Grandma and Grandpa's around 4:30 that afternoon. All was better with Melina once she was out of her car seat!

I had read somewhere that providing a child with a disposable camera is a great way to get some pictures from their point of view. We gave Isabelle 2 disposable cameras at the beginning of our trip, with the stipulation being that she could use one for the first half (Grass Valley) and the second one for the last half (Mammoth). Well, it will be very interesting to see the pictures when they are developed as most of the shots were taken of Isabelle's car window, or of Melina screaming or sleeping in her car seat, or of me turning around to see what was going on. The second camera was misplaced so I don't think any shots were taken of our Mammoth part of the trip, so she is taking pictures at home now. The shots will be quite interesting indeed!

We went to the Nevada County Fair Saturday, and Isabelle had a great time on the rides. I was a little flustered by the prices, however, (I guess I'm used to my little 'ol Ridgecrest fair prices), as we paid $28!!! each for a wristband for both Jeff and Isabelle (since Isabelle either had to ride with someone or didn't want to ride alone). Needless to say, Melina and I just watched...

We started off the fair by Melina taking a nap in the front carrier:

We enjoyed looking at the animals, especially these piglets,

but unfortunately, we learned the next day that someone had snuck into the fair sometime in the early morning hours and stole 3 of those piglets as well as 2 baby bunnies that were certain to die without their mama's milk. However, a day later they were found in a box on the side of a road unharmed and it was thought they would recover fine. How horrible for the children who the animals belonged to--that must have really devastated them.

Aunt Kitty met up with us at the fair and she gave poor Jeff a break from the many nausea-inducing rides by riding with Isabelle instead. One ride that Jeff took Isabelle on was a roller-coaster type ride that just went around and around in a circle, faster and faster. It slowed down, I'm not kidding you, 5 minutes later, I could tell Jeff looked a little green, and then it took off again, this time backwards!!! The look on Jeff's face--he really looked like he could possibly die any time! I was so glad it was him on the ride and NOT ME! And of course, Isabelle was next to him the entire time giggling and having the time of her life!

Isabelle also got to "milk" a cow and see a stuffed bear!

Melina enjoyed a yummy frozen lemon slushy (so delicious on a very warm day!)

And, we clowned around with the girls a bit:

On Sunday Aunt Marilyn drove down from Chico. We all piled into the same vehicle and then went blackberry picking (Jeff had been telling Isabelle for months how blackberries grow wild and you pick all that you want, so she was pretty excited about that). Then we went to lunch at a great Mexican restaurant and Aunt Marilyn went back to Chico. We had a great visit and so glad we were able to see her.

Uncle Mike arrived that afternoon and we had a nice family dinner that evening with the most delicious tri-tip marinated and grilled by Grandpa. We also had a "mini" birthday party for both girls, complete with a, you guessed it, Scooby Doo cake! It was beautiful and delicious!

And we had to get a shot of Grandma with all of her grandchildren! Thanks, Aunt Kitty for this great picture!

And, Grandma and her 2 granddaughters:

Mike and Jeff checked out some hydraulic gold mines Monday afternoon while the girls and I did some shopping and got some great deals!

Tuesday morning we packed up the car and were on the road around 11 a.m. for the next part of our trip...

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Birthday Milestone Pictures

Rochel is a wonderful friend who started taking pictures of all of us while pregnant. Last week I arranged for her to take pictures of the girls for their 1- and 5-year birthdays, instead of making the usual trip to Sears out of town. I was quite pleased with the turnout, although my newly turned 1-year-old really didn't want to be cooperative, and my newly turned 5-year-old wanted it to be all about her (go figure!). Here are some of my favorites; more are at dropshots under the dates Sat., Aug. 2 and Wed., July 30.