Family Trek through the Sequoias!


Hi all– Just back from 5 days with family at Sequoia National Park.  Growing up, every summer, my Mom and Dad would stash 4 kids and piles of camping gear in the station wagon, and head up the interstate to Sequoia. So it was big fun to do it again with my Sis and some of our kids!!

We set out one morning to hike our way around bright and brilliant Crescent Meadow (an old favorite for me and my Sis, Lulu!)

      

     

Midway around the meadow, we found a quiet spot to stop for lunch and a chance to rest our hiking feet!  And then on we trekked…

      

We finally arrived at Tharpe’s Log– a fallen redwood tree that became the home to the first settler in that area, who raised sheep in the adjacent meadow.

     

It was a fine full day–and being immersed in such beauty filled my soul.  I was thanking God for the glorious views all around me.

      


Thanks bunches to Charlotte, Micah, Jodi, Maryann, Larry, Jobay, Laurel & John (and Ted & Lu!)  for being the best adventurous, intrepid hiking buddies.  Let’s do it again!!

Wisconsin Welcome


Hello all– Wonder if you’ve been off vacationing yet this summer. –???  We’re just back from our week away– spent a warm & welcoming time with our Laurel & John at their new house near Madison. (warning– SO many photos here!  –couldn’t help myself.)

Our first evening we joined a few thousand others on the State Capitol lawn for a pizza picnic to the music of the Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra.  They played a Spanish favorite– Concierto de Aranjuez!!  Magical!

      

One morning we traversed 3 lakes (including raising the boat in a lock) to arrive at the University of Madison Terrace on the lake.  We lunched on brats and fresh corn along the lake and finished off with the memorable ice cream from the school’s dairy department!

      

      

Saturday morning found us at the Farmers Market collecting bagfulls of fresh produce to cook up over the weekend.

     

John’s intrepid red jeep ferried us out across the countryside to the Crane Institute– a study center for cranes from all over the world.  Then we stopped off along the Wisconsin River for a picnic (until it started raining!).

     

      

Laurel & John made sure we ate well!  Succulent steaks on the grill with Laurel’s beautiful salads– next night, a big grilled paella to eat out under the oak trees with friends.

      

The highlight of the trip was getting to see John & Laurel’s new house!!  While they were at work, Larry & I did a little wall paper stripping, spakeling and instaling of bookcases in the study).  It’s such a cozy place!

We took a few evening walks to enjoy the fireflies and everything so green and bountiful in the Wisconsin summer.

      

Thankful thankful for the days out and about, for the quiet conversations over dinner, for the joy of seeing you settle into your new home John & Laurel,  We love time with you!!  (See you in Sequoia in a couple weeks!!)

Good Times in San Francisco


Hi there friends– Happily home from a week in San Francisco.  Our Laurel was out in SF from Wisconsin so I headed up for a sweet time with my 2 girls together in the same city!  — and stayed the week to watch Little Lois.  Here’s the best parts:

Spent a morning wandering through Golden Gate Park and ended up at the Beach Chalet outdoor tables for a picnic-ish lunch.

     

And we had a day out at the Presidio, a former military installation, first established by the Spanish in 1776– strolled through the Officers Club, now with a Presidio Museum– And ended up at Native Burger for lunch (notice the small hand reaching for my burger–I didn’t notice it when I took the photo!)

     

     

But the real highlight of the week was watching Little Lois while her Mom was away.  We hit a couple library story times and a few playgrounds, baked biscuits and read so many stories.
     

     
So grateful to spend a “Girls Weekend” with Ani, Laurel and Lois (and of course, you too Brian!!)  Can’t wait to see you all again!

Wisconsin in Winter


Hi friends!!  We’re just back from our stay in Wisconsin with our kids– John & Laurel.  Those two know how to make everything fun.  So here’s my favorite– “Great Eight” things we did for our Wisconsin winter!!

#1.  One afternoon Larry and I trekked down to the campus of University of Wisconsin, for a stroll through the campus, a stop for the best ice cream (from their dairy department!) and a walk on the frozen lake!!  yikes!

     

#2.  We also studied our way through the Chazen Art Museum on campus one afternoon– small, but with a wide range of art from around the world and across genres.

   

#3.  Saturday morning we browsed at the indoor Farmers Market, where each week a different restaurant in Madison, serves up a wholesome breakfast (That week was root veggie hash!!)

   

#4.  On a blustery afternoon Laurel ferried us over to the Olbrich Botanical Gardens to wander through their greenhouse tropical garden– lush and warm and filled with singing canaries!
     

#5.  We tagged along with John & Laurel and their realtor Wade, while they did a little house hunting around Madison (But are still looking to find the perfect place).

#6.  Our most Wisconsin-ish adventure was an evening at the Fishing Expo– I had no idea there are so many many accessories to fishing, from boats to lures to wall mounted trophy fish!

     

#7.  Madison has a gorgeous new library downtown so one day we hiked down past the capital building and on to the library, where we raided the new book section an sat and read to our hearts content.  (P.S. the sculpture on the library wall is all made of battered old bookends!)

     

#8.  And last but sure not least, we had several wonderful meals with Laurel and John– starting with an assortment of coffee shops, a few morning walks to Batch Bakehouse, Salvatore’s Tomato Pies (the Best Pizza!), fashionable Mint Mark Cafe for breakfast, Noddle’s & Company Pad Thai, and our very own John’s incredible burgers at home!

     

     

Loved every minute with our John and Laurel.  They know how to hug and talk to and feed visiting parents in the very best sort of way!  Thanks you two!!  We can’t wait to come back to Madison…

Quilt of Many Colors

Hi there– Finished stitching up this quilt for our Laurel– She and John are getting married in August this is their wedding quilt.  She has always been our most “colorful” child–so when I handed over my Pinterest quilt idea board, I wasn’t surprised when she picked this bright quilt!

      

It was super fun to work on with all the variety color and shapes!! –with a soft green patterned flannel backing.  About 100 hours of stitching– plenty of time to sit in front of HGTV!!  And also some quiet time to sit and stitch and pray for Laurel and John and all they good years they have ahead…


So happy for you dear girl– You’ve made our lives fuller with all your colorful adventures, including your purple tinged hair!!

(Almost) Winter in Madison!

 

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Hi hi– back from a week with our Laurel in Madison, WI.  I booked this trip anticipating snow up to my waist, icy winds and swirling snowflakes.  But, surprise!, it was all sunshine and balmy days.

Even without snow, it was a sweet time with that girl of ours.  Laurel is the best best travel buddy.  Here’s what we do — tourist, shop, eat.  Repeat.  So here’s a little of each in the dead of Wisconsin winter!

Our winter “touristing” included frozen lakes, state park look outs and a woodsy museum.

Here we are astride Lake Menona (don’t ask me why I thought that was a good idea!)

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Brave people ice fishing on the lake– and ice at the lake’s edge.
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One afternoon we ambled along a trout stream.
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Laurel and John up the look out tower– and we did find real snow–piled in the parking lot!!
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After touring the Aldo Leopold Museum (early ecologist), we took a soggy trek back to the home in the woods we shared with his wife and 5 kids!
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John’s trusty jeep carried us through the woods,gorgeous fungi on the forest floor.
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Through the forest, just before a flock up enormous sandhill cranes passed over head– It was a so magical!
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We squeezed in a little shopping–kitchen store, books stores, thrift shops, the indoor winter farmer’s market along the way.
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And you know we found some good things to eat –starting with morning coffee & scones.
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Friday “Fish Fry” at the Tip Top Tavern–and a humongous pretzel at the Grumpy Troll Brewery
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Indian breakfast at the indoor Farmer’s Market
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And Laurel pulled together a Wisconsin cheese tray feast when friends dropped by…
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And one last P.S.– Thanks to our awesome nephew Shawn– who surprised us with the best seats for a Maroon 5 concert in Milwaukee– a big serendipity!!  We felt like rock stars ourselves!
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So thank you, thank you Laurel & John– you are always so warm and welcoming. Love you.  xox
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Out and About in Madison

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Hello all– Back from a couple weeks in Wisconsin and it was really a 2 part trip (so more later…).  Here’s “Wisconsin– Part #1,”  This is the week with Laurel out and about in Madison.  I thought about calling this post “Mad About Madison”  –I liked it that much!  Here’s my faves from our days together:

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I couldn’t stop taking pictures of the state capitol building!!  Laurel’s co-op office is on a corner of the capital square, so she walks straight through the building on her way to work in the morning– a glorious commute!

One afternoon we took off across the countryside, past hilly farmland, stopping in Mt. Horeb  and rolling on the Cress Spring Bakery for Pizza on the farm.
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Photos:  Rolling farmland, Scandinavian shop in Mt. Horeb,  pizza picnickers out on the farm.

We spent a morning in the new Madison Public Library–being very fond of libraries (especially this one!), I went back and read through one afternoon there while Laurel was working…
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Photos above:  back half of the children’s floor, library exterior, Laurel looking over the kid’s book selection,  3rd floor event space looking across the city.

Just loved strolls through Laurel’s neighborhood on Lake Monona, all the stately older houses, lush trees, flowered yards– plus the lake and park along the canal.  So different than my little California suburb.
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Photos above:  Bridge across the canal, two of my favorite houses, morning crew out on the dock feeding ducks.

One day, I wandered across the street from Laurel’s work to stroll through the Wisconsin History Museum– four floors of Indian artifacts, immigrant settlers and things particular to Wisconsin–an afternoon well spent.
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Photos above: Indian utensils and satchels, immigrant clothing & religious artifacts

And Laurel and I took drizzly walk through her neighborhood along the lake to Olbrich Gardens to walk past fountains, flower beds, and wooded pathways.
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Thanks for your warm and wonderful hospitality Laurel & John–It couldn’t have been more fun!  Glad we finally got our picture up on the visitor wall!!  (We’ll be back!)