Wandering in Wisconsin

Friends— We arrived in in Wisconsin for our John & Laurel’s wedding (more on that later!!) and since then have been taking in fun and food with our other kids winding our way across  the state.  A little “scrapbooking” of some of the best bits…

We crossed the Mississippi River into Iowa to explore the Effigy Mounds National Monument–a series of Native American burial mounds set in a forest overlooking the Mississippi.  A green and leafy afternoon hike.  Loved it!


photos:  forest, pretty lichen, Larry, Brian & Lois on the trail, the Mississippi River, The 3 Heungs by some burial mounds.

Next stop– the Great Wolf Lodge complete with the country’s biggest indoor/outdoor waterpark.  Aside from my first harrowing trip down a water slide, it was a lot of fun splashing with grand-girls in the water.


photos: Charlotte, Jobay & Maryann complete with wolf ears,  Jobay– the rope bridge champ!, 3 bathing beauties, in the lobby of the Great Wolf Lodge.

A trip over to Milwaukee, demands a brewery tour. A little beer sampling and an animated tour guide named Winston made it a lively afternoon.


photos: Lakefront Brewery building. after tour snacks, Winston, soft pretzels and savory spreads.

Next morning, we walked along Lake Michigan to reach the Milwaukee Art Museum, a monumental structure, by the architect, Santiago Calatrava (Spanish!).


Lakeside view of the museum, Ani in the reception hall, Larry by a Chihuly glass work, Lois on the prowl at the museum.

One more stop, at the Pabst Mansion, built in the 1890’s by the brewing family, an elegant look at their sumptuous life.


photos:  The Past Mansion, the womens’ salon, bathroom doors, our bright tour guide with Captain Pabst, the servants dining room.

Finally, Larry and I explored the Milwaukee Public Museum–a well done natural history museum–complete with butterfly room!!

photos:  Display of the museum exhibits back in the 1800’s. The butterfly room and a couple of it’s residents.


It was a fine full week, traveling across the green and glorious state of Wisconsin– thanks to Micah & Jodi & those 3 fun girls, thanks to Ani & Brian and our littlest tourist.  You all made it such a wonderful time together.  I am thankful.

Out & About In Ojai


Hello friends– Last weekend Larry and trekked up the coast to Ojai for a day with the 3 grand-girls and their dear parents.  After these crazy winter rains, the citrus groves and hillsides stretched out green and lush–beautiful drive into the valley…

Jodi pulled out the wok to make us a tableful of a delicious lunch, while Mary Ann and Grandpa set up for a round of her latest game invention– Buzzing Bee.

There was a hike down to the creek and some splashy wading (for girls, not grandmas!)


Also, a lot of browsing and a few selections at Bart’s Books (a rambling indoor/outdoor used books store) — followed by pizza and gelato at Papa Lemon’s.


And Jodi rounded us all up for a few family photos just outside their front door (thanks Jodi– you know this grandma loves family pictures!)

Thanks Micah and Jodi– loved loved the meals, the talks and time with you all… It’s the best!!

A Walk in the Woods

IMG_2995Hey there– While the kids were here, we had a chilly picnic out at Carbon Canyon Park. We wandered along the lake and hiked back to the Redwood Grove on he edge of the park. It’s the largest transplanted stand of redwoods in California.  Felt great to get out and ramble after all those big meals and Christmas cookies.


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It was a fine day, good to get out of the neighborhood and take a little mini-vacation with Micah, Jodi and the grand-girls.  Thanks for the hike time together M&J!

Wonderful (& Wild) Wedding Weekend

Sunset at Paul and Andrea’s  Beautiful Beachside Wedding

Hello all– Last weekend we went from a little house of 2 people to a bulging house of 11.  Kids came in for our niece adorable Andrea’s wedding and I loved every crowded noisy minute of it.

11822858_10204674970575896_3730882765683165991_n     11219519_10101297814102144_8912496234809558510_nThe wedding day was brilliant and so were the bride and groom–  photos: Andrea with her ever-loving’ Dad– and the happy couple after the ceremony.

And we sandwiched a little more fun into the weekend with kids in tow.

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11794378_10104479821094423_2002550834861642123_o     11222728_10104478528419953_8163597927642699430_o  photos:  4 gals snapping selfies in the backyard,  Laurel & John celebrating Route 66 on the Santa Monica Pier, John greeting the mastodon at the La Brea Tar Pits Museum on his L.A. tour, Brian-Harry-Ani out for super burger dinner and a stroll around Fullerton.

11791899_10153160423171478_1343325681399519460_oIt warmed a mom’s heart to have kids around the house and all dressed up (!) for the lovely wedding together– thanks all –for the memorable weekend!!

Good Times in Big Bear

Taking a break on our hike along the town ridge trail, overlooking the lake. 

Hi all– just back from a long-ish weekend in Big Bear with some of our kids.  And-yikes!– I took too many pictures.  Here’s a bunch to remember the good times together–  Monumental hikes, water gun fights, picnic dinner by the lake, reading on the back deck under the pine trees…

Warning: I’m about to test your limits of endurance on how many photos should be loaded onto one post.

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Brian and little Jobay lead the hike.  Charlotte at the trailhead ready to climb.

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Ani and Brian start up the trail with Harry.  Brian the rock climber!

View from the top of Castle Rock (This is Jodi’s picture– I did not made it that high!)

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Three little mountain goats and their Dad.  Grandpa Larry & Charlotte point out the trail!

The whole group together at the end of the Castle Rock Trail.  (Do we look beat?  We are!)

Of course, we had some good eating together –our favorite pastime.
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Gr. Larry serves up the pizza at Saucy Mama’s & grills burgers to eat out on the porch.

The last night we all ran through the grocery store to pick up an impromptu picnic for dinner under the pine trees by the lake.

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Jobay has something to say to her dad– and french toast back at the cabin for breakfast.

And, of course, you can’t have too much ice cream on vacation!!

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And we celebrated Chinese “Dragon Boat Day” with an afternoon lesson on how to make sticky rice wrapped in bamboo leaves– followed by a luscious (& spicy!) Chinese feast at a place M&J like in Big Bear.  Ganbei!

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We spent a sunny morning out on the lake in paddle boats– lots of splashing and crashing and an occasional high-five  going on.

And mostly we just hung out around the cabin–
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The girls pushed their way through the rose thicket to “explore” behind the cabin, gathering pine cones and picking wild flowers.

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Brian hanging out on the back porch– and the last spring wild roses blooming in the yard.

There were screaming rides for 3 grand-girls on the swing!

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And ferocious water gun fights with Aunt Ani —  and a tranquil view off the back porch.

Good times at the Big Bear Cabin for Larry, Jodi, Brian Jobay, Ani, Maryann, Micah and Charlotte.  So glad for the days there with them all.

So thanks you all for making the trek up to Big Bear.   It was just grand!

P.S.– Thanks bunches Ani & Jodi for all the photos I stole from your Facebook page.

Back in Ojai!

Sun setting off the back porch in at Micah and Jodi house

Hello friends–  So happy to say that Jodi and the 3 grand-girls are back from China!!  Been missing them all 4!  So today we trundled up to Ojai for welcome home hugs and a little birthday cake for Jodi.  Loved the sweet time together.

Out and about in Ojai– trying out the new Sushi restaurant in town–a grand-girl favorite.

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And back home there was some awesome double rainbow watching and a little soggy puddle jumping.  Things are never dull with the grand-girls back– Love those lively, lovable  girls.

Girls Galore!!

IMG_2624Hello all– It’s been a crazy fun couple days.  Micah, Jodi and the grand-girls drove down for the weekend and we’ve been eating, romping, story-reading and play-grounding away!  Here’s a couple of the highlights:

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We laid out on the kitchen floor to draw out this years Thankful Heart Chart– and the girls had a grand time crawling in and out of their new “sleeping tents.”  (We had their little tent village in the front room for bed time).

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There was some “zip lining” at the neighborhood park.

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Always bedtime stories and the morning French toast.

Thanks Micah and Jodi for making the trek down from Ojai– for a just right weekend together.  (note: Maryann’s got a hold of new family member BooBoo– they are dog sitting for a few weeks.)